From The Nation, July 11, 1846.

“Et moi, j’ai ete aussi en Aracdie.” – And, I, I, too, have been a dreamer. – Inscription on a Painting by Poussin.

I walked entranced
Through a land of Morn;
The sun, with wondrous excess of light,
Shone down and glanced
Over seas of corn
And lustrous gardens aleft and right.
Even in the clime
Of resplendent Spain
Beams no such sun upon such a land;
But it was the time,
‘Twas in the reign
Of Cáhal Mór of the Wine-red Hand.[1]

Anon stood nigh
By my side a man
Of princely aspect and port sublime.
Him queried I,
“O, my Lord and Khan,[2]
What clime is this, and what golden time?”
When he – “The clime
Is a clime to praise,
The clime is Erin’s, the green and bland;
And it is the time,
These be the days,
Of Cáhal Mór of the Wine-red Hand!”

Then I saw thrones,
And circling fires,
And a Dome rose near me, as by a spell,
Whence flowed the tones
Of silver lyres
And many voices in wreathed swell;
And their thrilling chime
Fell on mine ears
As the heavenly hymn of an angel-band –
“It is now the time,
These be the years,
Of Cáhal Mór of the Wine-red Hand!”

I sought the hall,
And, behold! a change
From light to darkness, from joy to woe!
King, nobles, all,
Looked aghast and strange;
The minstrel-groupe sate in dumbest show!
Had some great crime
Wrought this dread amaze,
This terror? None seemed to understand!
‘Twas then the time,
We were in the days,
Of Cáhal Mór of the Wine-red Hand.

I again walked forth;
But lo! the sky
Showed fleckt with blood, and an alien sun
Glared from the north,
And there stood on high,
Amid his shorn beams, A SKELETON![3]
It was by the stream
Of the castled Maine,
One Autumn eve, in the Teuton’s land,
That I dreamed this dream
Of the time and reign
Of Cáhal Mór of the Wine red Hand!

[1] The Irish and Oriental poets both agree in attributing favourable or unfavourable weather and abundant or deficient harvests to the good or bad qualities of the reigning monarch. What the character of Cahal was will be seen below.

[2] Identical with the Irish Ceann, Head, or Chief; but I the rather gave him the Oriental title, as really fancying myself in one of the regions of Araby the Blest.

[3] “It was but natural that these portentous appearances should thus be exhibited on this occasion, for they were the heralds of a very great calamity that befell the Connacians in this year – namely, the death of Cathal of the Red Hand, son of Torlogh Mor of the Wine, and King of Connaught, a prince of most amiable qualities, and into whose heart God has infused more piety and goodness than into the hearts of any of his contemporaries.” – Annals of the Four Masters, A. D. 1224.