She lived beside the Anner,
At the foot of Slievenamon,
A gentle peasant girl,
With mild eyes like the dawn;
Her lips were dewy rosebuds;
Her teeth of pearls rare;
And a snow-drift ’neath a beechen bough
Her neck and nut-brown hair.
How pleasant ’twas to meet her
On Sunday when the bell
Was filling with its mellow tones
Lone wood and grassy dell!
And when at eve young maidens
Strayed the river’s banks along,
The widow’s brown-haired daughter
Was loveliest of the throng.
O brave, brave Irish girls—
We well may call you brave!—
Sure the least of all your perils
Is the stormy ocean wave,
When you leave your quiet valleys,
And cross the Atlantic’s foam,
To hoard your hard-won earnings
For the helpless ones at home.
‘Write word to my own dear mother—
Say, we’ll meet with God above;
And tell my little brothers
I send them all my love;
May the angels ever guard them,
Is their dying sister’s prayer’—
And folded in that letter
Was a braid of nut-brown hair.
Ah, cold, and well nigh callous
This weary heart has grown
For thy hapless fate, dear Ireland,
And for sorrows of mine own;
Yet a tear mine eye will moisten
When by Anner’s side I stray,
For the lily of the mountain foot
That withered far away.