Ellen Fitzsimon: Irish Woman Poet

Ellen Fitzsimon (1805 – 1883) was born Ellen Bridget O’Connell, the third child and first daughter of the famous Daniel O’Connell. Her poems were published in the Irish Monthly, The Nation and The Dublin Review. She published one collection, Derrynane Abbey in 1832 and other Poems (1863) and a memoir of her father.

THE WOODS OF KYLINOE; SONG OF THE IRISH EMIGRANT IN NORTH AMERICA

MY heart is heavy in my breast — my eyes are full of tears,
My memory is wandering back to long departed years —
To those bright days long, long ago,
When nought I dream’d of sordid care, of worldly woe —
But roved, a gay, light-hearted boy, the woods of Kylinoe.

There, in the spring-time of my life, and spring-time of the year,
I’ve watched the snowdrop start from earth, the first young buds appear;
The sparkling stream o’er pebbles flow,
The modest violet, and the golden primrose blow,
Within thy deep and mossy dells, beloved Kylinoe!

‘Twas there I wooed my Mary Dhuv, and won her for my bride,
Who bore me three fair daughters, and four sons, my age’s pride;
Though cruel fortune was our foe,
And steep’d us to the lips in bitter want and woe,
Yet cling our hearts to those sad days we pass’d near Kylinoe.

At length, by misery bowed to earth, we left our native strand,
And crossed the wide Atlantic to this free and happy land;
Though toils we had to undergo,
Yet soon content and happy peace ’twas ours to know,
And plenty, such as never blessed our hearth near Kylinoe!

And Heaven a blessing has bestow’d more precious far than wealth,
He spared us to each other, full of years, yet strong in health;
Across the threshold when we go,
We see our children’s children round us grow,
Like sapling oaks within thy woods, far distant Kylinoe.

Yet sadness clouds our hearts to think that when we are no more,
Our bones must find a resting-place far, far from Erin’s shore!
For us — no funeral sad and slow —
Within the ancient abbey’s burial ground shall go —
No, we must slumber far from home, far, far from Kylinoe!

Yet, oh! if spirits e’er can leave the appointed place of rest,
Once more will I revisit thee, dear Isle that I love best;
O’er thy green vales will hover slow,
And many a tearful parting blessing will bestow
On all — but most of all on thee, my native Kylinoe.

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