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Printed by Davidson fr M'Cormack
at Fijty-four, King Street, Belfast.



THE RUSHLIGHT.







RUSH-
LICHT




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MCMVI: PUBLISHED






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To A.V.M.




Feast of Brigid of the Candles,
MCMVI. ^ ^ ^ ^



With what wisdom shall he be furnished that holdeth the

plough, and that glorieth in the goad, that driveth the

oxen therewith, and is occupied in their labours, and his
whole talk is about the offspring of bulls.

He shall give his mind to turn up furrows, and his care
is to give the kine fodder.

Great labour is created for all men, and a heavy yoke is
upon the children of Adam, from the day of their coming
out of their mother's womb until the day of their burial
into the mother of all.

The life of a labourer that is content with what he hath
shall be sweet, and in that thou shall find a treasure.

Thy eye desireth favour and beauty, but more than these
green sown fields.

THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTICUS.




HERE BEGINS -THE- RUSHLIGHT



TO -BREAD -AND -WATER- NONE- IS- POOR :AND
HAVING-THESE-WHAT-NEED-OF-MORE7
THOUGH-MUCH-FROM-OUT-THE-CESS
BE SPENT NATURE WITH -LITTLE- IS
CONTENT- -R-HE,BRlCKe




1 * ERE is the chapbook of my dreams
^^"^^ I made it in the candle-light

(The lowly symbol of my dreams)

^ ^ t When I had laid my shoes aside,

And smoked a fragrant pipe beside
The kettle on the ingle-stone.
Cast not my holland book away,
Even tho' it smells of peat and clay,
Of bramble and the berried heath.
The Holy Breath is in its breath:
The very inner heart of it
Of human travailing is knit;
Its blood my blood, its bone my bone.
It cost me many a sleepless night
From Michaelmas to Christmastide,
And burned out many a lusty barth
Of rushes, many a glowing hearth,
New-plenisht from the rick outside.
Cast not my holland book away.

Cast not my holland book away,
Nor spurn my muse because it sings
Of homely folk and lowly things;




6.



Of tilling m^n who plough and reap;

Of piping men who tramp the roads

And ply their chanters for a crust,

A threadbare coat, a place to sleep,

A shelter from the rain and dust ;

Of herding men who keep their flocks

In lonely glens and valleys deep ;

Of peddling men who cry their goods

11 Nails, needles, scissors, keys and locks ! "

Of fishing men who go to sea

In shallow cots of wood and skin;

Of wives who knit and maids who spin ;

Of sucking babes who sleep all day;

Of boys and girls who leap and run

Like weanling lambs i' the open sun;

Of springing crops, of lowing herds,

Of speaking streams and singing birds ;

Of quiet, kindly Gaelic places,

And old-world ways and comely faces.

Cast not my holland book away.




THE MOUNTAINY -*

-* -* -* SINGER.



I



AM the mountainy singer

The voice of the peasant's dream,

The cry of the wind on the wooded hill,

The leap of the trout in the stream.



Quiet and love I sing
The cairn on the mountain crest,
The cailin in her shepherd's arms,
The child at its mother's breast.

Beauty and peace I sing
The fire on the open hearth,
The cailleach spinning at her wheel,
The plough in the broken earth.

Travail and pain I sing

The bride on the childing-bed,

The dark man labouring at his rhymes,

The ewe in the lambing-shed.

Sorrow and death I sing
The canker come on the corn,
The fisher lost in the mountain loch,
The cry at the mouth of mom.

No other life I sing,
For I am sprung of the stock
That broke the hilly land for bread,
And built the nest in the rock !




8.

LASAIRFHION



NI CHOLUMAIN.




* T the whitening of the dawn,
As I came o'er the silver water,
I saw the salmon-fisher's daughter,
Lasairfhion ni Cholumain.

Lasairfhion ni Cholumain,
Lasairfhion ni Cholumain,
Palest lily of the dawn
Is Lasairfhion ni Cholumain.

In the dark of evendown
I went o'er the shadowed water,
Dreaming of the fisher's daughter
And her bothy in the town.

And I made this simple rann
Ere the whitening of the dawn,
Singing to the beauty wan
Of Lasairfhion ni Cholumain.




A -*> -> -
- PROPHECY.




" And it shall come to pass in the last days ....

and your sons and your daughters shall

prophesy, and your young men shall see visions^ and
your old men shall dream dreams"



HE loins of the Galldacht
Shall wither like grass"
Strange words I heard said
At the Fair of Dun-eas.



"A bard shall be born
Of the seed of the folk,
To break with his singing
The bond and the yoke.

" A sword, white as ashes,
Shall fall from the sky,
To rise, red as blood,
On the charge and the cry.

" Stark pipers shall bfow,
Stout drummers shall beat,
And the shout of the North
Shall be heard in the street.

" The strong shall go down,
And the weak shall prevail,
And a glory shall sit
On the sign of the Gaodhal.

"Then Emer shall come
In good time by her own,




10.



And a man of the people
Shall speak from the throne. "-

Strange words I heard said
At the Fair of Diin-eas
"The Gaodhaldacht shall live,
The Galldacht shall pass!"




II




*> CRADLE-SONG.

LEEP, white love, sleep,
A cedarn cradle holds thee,
And twilight, like a silver-woven coverlid,
Enfolds thee.
Moon and star keep charmed watch
Upon thy lying;
Water-plovers thro' the dusk
Are tremulously crying.

Sleep, white love mine,
Till day doth shine.

Sleep, white love, sleep,
The daylight wanes, and deeper
Gathers the blue darkness
O'er the cradle of the sleeper.
Cliodhna's curachs, carmine-oared,
On Loch-da-linn are gleaming;
Blind-bats flutter thro' the night,
And carrion-birds are screaming.

Sleep, white love mine,

Till day doth shine.

Sleep, white love, sleep,

The holy mothers Anne and Mary

Sit high in heaven, dreaming

On the seven ends of Eire.

Brigid sits beside them,

Spinning lamb-white wool on whorls,

Singing fragrant songs of love

To little naked boys and girls.

Sleep, white love mine,

Till day doth shine.




12.



THE LAMENT OF PATRAIC MOR
MAC CRU1MIN OVER HIS SONS.





AM Patraic Mor Mac Cruimin,
Son of Domhnall of the Shroud,
Piper, like my kind before me,
To the household of Mac Leod.



Death is in the seed of Cruimin;
All my music is a wail :
Early graves await the poets
And the pipers of the Gael.

Samhain gleans the golden harvests
Duly in their tide and time,
But my body's fruit is blasted
Barely past the Bealtein prime.

Cethlenn claims the fairest fighters
Fitly for her own, her own,
But my seven sons are stricken
Where no battle-pipe is blown.

Flowers of the forest fallen
On the sliding summer stream
Light and life and love are with me,
Then are vanished into dream.

Berried branches of the rowan
Rifled in the wizard wind
Clan and generation leave me,
Lonely on the heath behind.

Who will soothe a father's sorrow
When his seven sons are gone?



Who will watch him in his sleeping?
Who will wake him at the dawn?

Seven sons are taken from me
In the compass of a year ;
Every bone is bose within me,
All my blood is white with fear.

Seven youths of brawn and beauty

Moulder in their mountain bed,

Up in storied Inis-Scathach

Where their fathers reaped their bread.

Nevermore upon the mountain,
Nevermore in fair or field,
Shall ye see the seven champions
Of the silver-mantled shield.

I will play the " Cumhadh na Cloinne'\
Wildest of the rowth of tunes
Gathered by the love of mortal
From the olden druid-runes.

Wail ye ! Night is on the water ;
Wind and wave are roaring loud
Caoine for the fallen children
Of the piper of Mac Leod.




THE *+> -+> *+
* QUERN-STONE.

Lucky man
Puts his hand
On " Cloch-Bhron?
The Quern- Stone !



H



S I gaed up the Gowden Knowe
Tae fetch a stane tae mak' a quern
I spied an antick little body
Hiding i' the ranked fern.




His face was like a tanner's thumb,
His eye a well o* wicked glee ;
The cock upo' his coggie-cap
Cam' only tae my knee.

Says he, "And what are you speiring for?"
Says he, "And why dae you come your lane?"
"My gudewife packed me out," says I,
"Tae pick a wee white stane!"

He girned at me like a bag o' nails,
He tumbled on his peary head,
And whiles I turned tae rub my eyes
He sput on his heel, and fled!

I clambered up the Gowden Knowe, .
I picked atween the ranked fern,
And straightway as I stooped tae pick
I found a fairy quern.

It was a fairy quern, indeed,

Wi' spots o' red and blae and green,



And rings and crosses cut on it
Most antick tae been seen.

I hoised it up and ta'en it hame,
And gave it tae my leman dear,
And she has ground her corn in it
These five-and-forty year.

And a' the dealing-folk that come
Tae barter i' the wee grey toun
Would fain buy it an I would sell
Were't for a silver pound !

But I'll not swap an I can help,
But save it like a pinchpenny,
For it has made a lusty man
O' my aid wife and me !




1 6.



THE QILLY * <* -*
* * OF CHRIST.



I



AM the gilly of Christ,
The mate of Mary's Son ;
I run the roads at seeding-time,
And when the harvest's done.



I sleep among the hills,
The heather is my bed;
I dip the termon-well for drink,
And pull the sloe for bread.

No eye has ever seen me,
But shepherds hear me pass,
Singing at fall of even
Along the shadowed grass.

The beetle is my bellman,

The meadow-fire my guide,

The bee and bat my ambling nags

When I have need to ride.

All know me only the Stranger,
Who sits on the Saxons' Height:
He burned the bacach's little house
On last Saint Brigid's Night.

He sups off silver dishes,
And drinks in a golden horn,
But he will wake a wiser man
Upon the Judgment Morn!

I am the gilly of Christ,
The mate of Mary's Son;



I run the roads at seeding-time,
And when the harvest's done.

The seed I sow is lucky,

The corn I reap is red,

And whoso sings the "Gilly's Rann"

Will never cry for bread.




THE <* -*
-* MAGI.





"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in
the days of king Herod^ behold^ there came wise men from
the east ....

"Saying Where is He that is born King of the Jews?
for we have seen His star in the east, and we have come
to adore Him."

MATTHEW n. 1-2.

HEN Christ was born of Mary's breast
Three kings came riding from the east,
For they had seen His childing-star
Adream upon the hills afar.

"This holy morn, if we read well,

A King is born to Israel,

And we will plait our beards, and go

To seek Him in the trackless snow."

And riding down the desert road,
The star with lambent beauty glowed,
And, as it were a silver fawn,
It moved before their caravan;
Until it came and stood outside
The passage of a cavern wide,
Wherein the Word Incarnate lay,
White-swaddled, in a crib of hay.

And seeing this, they did rejoice
With open heart and ardent voice,
And entering in they found the Child
Upon the paps of Mary mild,



1 9.



And falling prone they kissed His feet
And smeared them with chrism sweet,
And proffered gifts of great expense
Wrought gold and myrrh and frankincense.

And lest the Tetrarch's envious ear
Might thro' their gillies chance to hear
(For they had dreamed a dream in sleep
That Herod's heart was black and deep),
They mounted horse and rode away
Before the falling of the day,
And made the wood on Kedron side
Upon the coming of night tide.

And on and ever on they went,
Still gazing on the firmament,
But Christ's white star, that like a fawn
Did ere while lead them, now was gone ;
And tho' their kingly hearts were fain,
They drew nor breath nor bridle-rein
Until they came to Araby,
Twelve nights after Epiphany.




20




I GATHER -* ^ * ^ ^
-* ^ THREE EARS OF CORN.



GATHER three ears of corn,
And "the Black Earl from over the sea
Sails across in his silver ships,
And takes two out of the three.



I might build a house on the hill
And a barn of the speckly stone,
And tell my little stocking of gold,
If the Earl would let me alone.

But he has no thought for me
Only the thought of his share,
And the softness of the linsey shifts
His lazy daughters wear.

There is a God in Heaven,

And angels, score on score,

Who will not see my hearthstone cold

Because I'm crazed and poor.

My childer have my blood,
And when they get their beards
They will not be content to run
As gillies to their herds !

The day will come, maybe,

When we can have our own,

And the Black Earl will come to us

Begging the bacach's bone !




21

d I C^

dlLt^r *"^ *"^ "^ x ^

-* OF THE LOVE-SPOT.

E praised my breasts so round and white,
My amber hair, my eyes of light,
My singlet without stain or speck,
The little love-spot on my neck.

He gave me cordwain shoes to wear,
And ribbands for my neck and hair;
And then he took his will of me,
And went away beyond the sea.

He told me he would come again
With silver and a sword of Spain;
But now it is the sweet o 1 the year,
And Art O Luinigh is not here.

I'll make a bed on Eithne's Stone,
And lay me down to sleep, alone :
I would not weep, I would not chide,
If only he lay by my side.

Would God the beard was on the corn,
Would God my silly babe was born,
Would God the nuts were in the trees,
And this poor heart might feel at ease !




22.





WHO BUYS * *
* +> * LAND.

HO buys land
Buys many stones,
Who buys flesh
Buys many bones,

Who buys eggs

Buys many shells,

Who buys Love

Buys nothing else.

Love is a burr
Upon the floor,
Love is a thief
Behind the door.
Who loves leman
For her breath
May quench his fire,
And cry for death !

Love is a bridle,
Love is a load,
Love is a thorn
Upon the road.
Love is the fly
That flits its hour,
Love is the shining
Venom-flower.

Love is a net,
Love is a snare,
Love is a bubble
Blown with air.



Love starts hot
And, waning cold,
Is withered
In the grave's mould !



23-




24.



THE YOUNG MOTHER'S <* -
*>+>*>+> LULLABY.



J9



UCK, suck no more now, pretty calf,
Thy honey mouth is full;
And I will lay thee in a nest
Of whitest dripsey wool.

Hu-hi! ho-ho!

Sleep now, deary.

Hu-hi! ho-ho!

Thy mother is weary.

Another hour, and father drives
His horses from the plough :
See, pretty calf, his stirabout
Begins to bubble now.

Hu-hi! ho-ho!

Sleep now, deary.

Hu-hi! ho-ho!

Thy mother is weary.




25'



I WILL GO WITH MY FATHER -*

..*.-:**< A-PLOUQHINQ.

I WILL go with my father a-ploughing
To the green field by the sea,
And the rooks and the crows and the sea-gulls
Will come flocking after me.
I will sing to the patient horses,
With the lark in the white of the air,
And my father will sing the plough-song
That blesses the cleaving share.

I will go with my father a-sowing

To the red field by the sea,

And the rooks and the gulls and the starlings

Will come flocking after me.

I will sing to the striding sowers,

With the finch on the greening sloe,

And my father will sing the seed-song

That only the wise men know.

I will go with my father a-reaping

To the brown field by the sea,

And the geese and the crows and the children

Will come flocking after me.

I will sing to the tan-faced reapers,

With the wren in the heat of the sun,

And my father will sing the scythe-song

That joys for the harvest done.




26.



THE NINEPENNY * *
->> x* ^ FIDIL.




0)



Y father and mother were Irish,
And I am Irish, too;
I bought a wee fidil for ninepence,
And it is Irish, too.



I'm up in the morning early
To meet the dawn of day,
And to the lintwhites' piping
The many's the tune I play.

One pleasant eve in June-time
I met a lochrie-man :
His face and hands were weazen,
His height was not a span.
He boor'd me for my fidil
" You know," says he, " like you,
My father and mother were Irish,
And I am Irish, too ! "

He took my wee red fidil,
And such a tune he turned
The Glaise in it whispered,
The Lionan in it m'urned.
Says he, "My lad, you're lucky
I wish t' I was like you :
You're lucky in your birth-star,
And in your fidil, too!"

He gave me back my fidil,
My fidil-stick, also,
And, stepping like a May-boy,
He jumped the Leargaidh Knowe.



27.



I never saw him after,
Nor met his gentle kind;
But, whiles, I think I hear him
A-wheening in the wind !

My father and mother were Irish,

And I am Irish, too;

I bought a wee fidil for ninepence,

And it is Irish, too.

I'm up in the morning early

To meet the dawn of day,

And to the lintwhites* piping

The many's the tune I play.




28.



O BEAUTY * * * *
^ ^ OF THE WORLD.

O BEAUTY of the World,
O Sinless One,
O Secret Garden of the Gael's desire,
O Mystic Rose of Love,

Fount of Fire,

1 come to thee with fragrant gifts of prayer
To lay upon the breast of Christ, thy Son
More precious than the frankincense and myrrh
The star-led Magi brought thee in the cave
At Bethlehem, when Christ first came to save.

O Moon of Bealteine,

O Quicken Wand,

O Breast of Innocents,

O Bearing Vine,

O Olive Orchard of the Seraphim,
O Golden Branch of Fruit,
O Chosen Sign,

Come hither from thy seat by Christ's right hand,
And take my fragrant gifts, and say to Him
"These to Thee, Father, from a foster-child
Of holy Gobnat in the southern wild."

O Mother of the Word,

O Myrtle Leaf,

O Scented Hazel of the Seven Hills,

O Ring of Summer Dawn,

O Harvest Sheaf,

The poets sing thee songs and canticles,

Chanting thy body's praise with dulcet breath;



2 9 .



All generations bless thy gentle name;
All nations know the glory and the fame
Of thee, whose virgin beauty brought to faith
The world that Eve's transgression gave to death.

O Glorious Child-Bearer,

O Secret Womb,

O Gilded Bride-Chamber, from which hath come

the sightly Bridegroom forth,
O Amber Veil,

Thou sittest in heaven, the White Love of the Gael.
Thy head is crowned with stars; thy radiant hair
Shines like a river thro' the twilight air.
Thou walkest by trodden ways and trackless seas,
Immaculate of man's infirmities.

O Maiden, Primal and Perpetual,

O River Undefiled,

O Stream of Light,

O Privileged of Women, Pure and Bright,

The embalmed wounds of martyrs worship thee;

The golden mouths of angels sing thee praise

At morn, at eve, and to the end of days ;

Christ gives thee His embrace; the apostles all

Salute thee Queen of heaven's company ;

Thy chariot is a cloud; thy sign is furled

Where God the Father looks upon the world. Amen.




GOD'S -* -*

* * cow.



I



MET God's cow
At the heel of day,
And she wandering lorn
On the King's highway.




Her sleek silk back
Was red as the corn,
And a silvern crotal
Hung at each horn.

She lowed to me
With the udder-pain,
And the milk fell from her
Like summer rain.

And what I did then
Let no mouth say,
For I tied God's cow
To a lusmor spray.

And what I did then
Let no mouth tell,
For I drew God's milk
In a lusmor bell.

And I hied me home
By the light of the moon
To my little white house
In the Glen of Dun.

And I spared the gift
For nine good year,



Till it dried in the bell
With the heat of the air.

And I buried it then
In the ancient rath
That sits at ihe bend
Of the Shepherd's Path.

And from yon time
Till Lammas now
I've never set eyes on
God's good cow!





THE WOMEN -* -* -*
-*,-* AT THEIR DOORS.



HE babes were asleep in their cradles,
And the day's drudge was done,
And the women brought their suppers out
To eat them in the sun.

"To-night I will set my needles, Aine,
And Eoghan will have stockings to wear :
I spun the wool of the horny ewe
He bought at the Hiring Fair. . . .

" But what is the sound I hear, Nabla ?
It is like the cheering of men.
God keep our kind from the Devil's snare ! "
And the women answered, " Amen ! "

Then the moon rose over the valley,
And the cheering died away,
And the women went within their doors
At the mouth of the summer day.

And no men came in at midnight,
And no men came in at the dawn,
And the women keened by their ashy fires
Till their faces were haggard and wan.

For they knew they had gone to the trysting

With pike and musketoon,

To fight for their hearths and altars

At the rising of the moon !



33-



A NORTHERN ** * *
<* -+ * LOVE-SONG.

6RIGIDIN BAN of the lint-white locks,
What was it gave you that flaxen hair,
Long as the summer heath in the rocks?
What was it gave you those eyes of fire,
Lip so waxen and cheek so wan?
Tell me, tell me, Brigidin Ban,
Little white bride of my heart's desire.

Was it the Good-People stole you away,

Little white changeling, Brigidin Ban?

Carried you off in the ring of the dawn,

Laid like a queen on her purple car,

Carried you back 'twixt the night and the day;

Gave you that fortune of flaxen hair,

Gave you those eyes of wandering fire,

Lit at the wheel of the Southern Star,

Gave you that look so far away,

Lip so waxen and cheek so wan ?

Tell me, tell me, Brigidin Ban,

Little white bride of my heart's desire.




34-





A SOUTHERN * * *
*>***+ LOVE SONG.

ITTLE black rose with the heart of purple,
Little blae-bell with the eye of blue,
All the way from the back of the mountain
Phelimy sends his love to you.

Star of my dusk

In heaven a-beam,

Rocks are no bar

To a young man's dream !

Little grey roe in the thicket straying,
Little brown bird on the branch of sloes,
All the sorrow that comes of loving
Only the heart of the young man knows.

Moon of my night
In twilight born,
Youth is a flower,
And Love a thorn.

Little dark loch in the valley sleeping,
Little brown stream with the voice of joy,
Often there comes a fairy like you
Haunting the dreams of your white-haired boy.

Bride of my love,
I'll not repine
If you'll but tell me
Your heart is mine.



35-



MAC MUIRNE -*, ^ ~>
<* -* -* THE HERDSMAN.



I



AM Mac Muirne,
The master of herds,
The man of the marvels
That live in old words.



My green bed of dockens
I cast to the sun,
What time the bog-fires
Are beginning to run.

Then in the grey gloaming,
By white winding ways,
I drive my red herds
To the Termon of Days.

The bushes go by me
As ghosts in a dream,
The maze in the meadow,
The mist on the stream.

No eye ever sees me,
No moon and no star;
No mouth bids me greeting,
Anear or afar.

But lone in the gloaming,
By white winding ways,
I drive my red herds
To the Termon of Days.




THE BEGGAR'S -* -*
-*> * * WAKE.



I



WATCHED at a beggar's wake
In the hills of Bearna-barr,
And the old men were telling stories
Of Troy and the Trojan war.



And a flickering fire of bogwood
Burned on the open hearth,
And the night-wind roared in the chimney,
And darkness was over the earth.

And Tearlach Ban Mac Giolla,
The piper of Gort, was there,
And he sat and he dreamed apart
In the arms of a sugan-chair.

And sudden he woke from his dream,
Like a dream-frightened child,
And his lips were pale and trembling,
And his eyes were wild.

And he stood straight up, and he cried,
With a wave of his withered hand
"The days of the Saxon Stranger
Shall be few in the land!

"The scrip of his doom is written,

The thread of his shroud is spun;

The net of his strength is broken,

The tide of his life is run.

"I dreamed it all in the fire,
2) As a seer dreams in the light



37-



Of flying moon and falling stars
Upon Saint Gobnat's Night!"

Then he sank to his seat like a stone,
And the watchers stared aghast,
And they crossed themselves for fear
As the coffin-cart went past.

"At the battle of Gleann-muic-duibh
The fate the poets foretold
Shall fall on the neck of the Stranger,
And redden the fallow mould.

"The bagmen carry the story
The circuit of Eire round,
And they sing it at fair and hurling
From Edair to Acaill Sound.

"And the folk repeat it over
About the winter fires,
Till the heart of each one listening
Is burning with fierce desires.

"In the Glen of the Bristleless Boar
They say the battle shall be,
Where Breiffne's holy mountains
Look on the western sea.

"In the Glen of the Pig of Diarmad,
On Gulban's hither side,
The battle shall be broken
About the Samhain tide.

"Forth from the ancient hills,
With war-cries strident and loud,




38.




The people shall march at daybreak,
Massed in a clamorous crowd.

"War-pipes shall scream and cry,
And battle-banners shall wave,
And every stone on Gulban
Shall mark a hero's grave.

"The horses shall wade to their houghs
In rivers of smoking blood,
Charging thro' heaps of corpses
Scattered in whinny and wood.

"The girths shall rot from their bellies
After the battle is done,
For lack of a hand to untie them
And hide them out of the sun.

"It shall not be the battle
Between the folk and the Sidhe
At the rape of a bride from her bed


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Online LibraryJoseph CampbellThe rush-light → online text (page 1 of 2)