A Celebration 
of Women Writers

"The Shamrock" by Ethna Carbery [aka Mrs. Seumus MacManus, Anna Johnston] (1866-1902)
From: The Four Winds of Eirinn: Poems by Ethna Carbery. (Anna MacManus.), Complete Edition, Edited by Seumas MacManus. Dublin, Ireland: M. H. Gill and Son, Ltd. 1906. pp. 137-138.

Editor: Mary Mark 

[Page 137] 


Patrick blessed it on Tara Hill,
He blessed it through good, he blessed it thro' ill.
He gave the little green leaf to me
As a humble sign of the Trinity.

I folded it safe in my heart and there
It grew in my love, so strong, so fair,
I held it dearer than rose or sedge
Tall-flowering, by the gray sea's edge.

It saw my Kings go forth to war
With spear and shield and battle car,
In the splendid time of my glory when
I was Queen and Mother of peerless men.

It grieved with me when the trouble came
On that dark, dark day of fear and shame,
When the Chiefs went sailing, Ochón! Ochón!
From Donegal and from green Tyrone.

Cromwell crushed it beneath his foot,
Yet, North and South spread each branchy root,
Secret and silent–from East to West–
And lo! it was blooming upon my breast.

Flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bone,
Hath the Sassanach taken–the corner-stone
Of my palace lies in the flaunting weeds,
And my heart keeps ever a wound that bleeds.

[Page 138] 

My Faith and my Shamrock–all bereft
I guarded the twain that the foe had left,
I wore the sprig at the scaffold's side–
God's earth lie light on the brave who died.

In the folds of my heart is the Shamrock–there
It grows in my love, wide-spreading, fair,
And a thousand times dearer than rose or sedge,
Tall-flowering, by the gray sea's edge.


Editor: Mary 
Mark Ockerbloom