IRELAND-L Archives

Archiver > IRELAND > 2002-07 > 1027636159


From: "Jean Rice" <>
Subject: [IRELAND] "The Dying Girl" -- Richard D'Alton WILLIAMS (1822-1862)
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 15:40:27 -0700


THE DYING GIRL

>From a Munster vale they brought her,
>From the pure and balmy air;
An Ormond peasant's daughter,
With blue eyes and golden hair.
They brought her to the city
And she faded slowly there --
Consumption has no pity
For blue eyes and golden hair.

When I saw her first reclining
Her lips were mov'd in prayer,
And the setting sun was shining
On her loosen'd golden hair.
When our kindly glances met her,
Deadly brilliant was her eye;
And she said that she was better,
While we knew that she must die.

She speaks of Munster valleys,
The pattern, dance, and fair,
And her thin hand feebly dallies
With her scattered golden hair.
When silently we listen'd
To her breath with quiet care,
Her eyes with wonder glisten'd,
And she asked us, "What was there?"

The poor thing smiled to ask it,
And her pretty mouth laid bare,
Like gems within a casket,
A string of pearlets rare,

We said that we were trying
By the gushing of her blood
And the time she took in sighing
To know if she were good.

Well, she smil'd and chatted gaily,
Though we saw in mute despair
The hectic brighter daily,
And the death-dew on her hair.
And oft her wasted fingers
Beating time upon the bed:
O'er some old tune she lingers,
And she bows her golden head.

At length the harp is broken;
And the spirit in its strings,
As the last decree is spoken,
To its source exulting springs.
Descending swiftly from the skies
Her guardian angel came,
He struck God's lightning from her eyes,
And bore Him back the flame.

Before the sun had risen
Through the lark-loved morning air,
Her young soul left its prison,
Undefiled by sin or care.
I stood beside the couch in tears
Where pale and calm she slept,
And though I've gazed on death for years,
I blush not that I wept.

I check'd with effort pity's sighs
And left the matron there,
To close the curtains of her eyes
And bind her golden hair.

-- Richard D'Alton Williams (1822-1862)


This thread: