Sarah Parker: Irish Woman Poet

Sarah Parker (1824 – 1880) Was born in Newry but lived most of her life in Scotland, where she came to be known as the Irish girl and married a man called Douglas. The marriage was, apparently, ill-advised. She was barely educated, but wrote verses from an early age and published widely, including three volumes of poetry: The Opening of the Sixth Seal and Other Poems (1846), Miscellaneous Poems (1856) and Poems by Sarah Parker Douglas, ‘The Irish Girl’ (3rd edition 1863). The poem below is from the second of these.

THE UNFORGOTTEN ONE

Description fails, language is far too weak,

To tell the beauties of my early love;

Ah! she was fairer than the rose, and meek,

And fond, and gentle as the turtle dove.

The golden tinge of sunset in the sky

Appear’d not brighter than her flowing hair;

The violet’s hue was in her beaming eye,

And all her gentle soul seem’d speaking there.

It beam’d so softly through its long dark fringe,

Whene’er I cross’d her path, or met by chance,

O’er her young cheek would spread a. deeper tinge,

And then what thoughts spoke in her hurried glance?

I knew she lov’d me, and a nameless joy

Would thrill, quick as electric fluid’s dart,

My soul was mute in the deep ecstacy

That took possession of my throbbing heart.

Ah ! never, never shall my soul forget

The hour in which my love I first confess’d:

’Twas eve, when in a fragrant bower we met,

When all was stil1—e’en zephyrs lay at rest;

Twas there we talked of love, of truth, and joy,

The blush still deep’ning on her youthful cheek;

There, in her timid, half-averted eye,

I read more tenderness than worlds can speak.

But, ah! she was too good, and kind, and dear-

Too gentle and belov’d for this cold earth;

Not long she grac’d our troubl’d path-way here;

Alas for beauty, and alas for worth!

She died in loveliness, like some fair flower

Pluck’d in its beauty from its parent stem;

‘We lost her in her sweetest——brightest hour,

Like some fair pearl from a diadem.

I knew it was the hand of death had flung

The snowy paleness o’er her youthful brow,

And yet to hope my trembling spirit clung,

Like autumn’s last leaf to the wither’d bough.

But long her mem’ry shall be treasur’d where

N ought of this world shall ever mix alloy,

Nor time, nor change, nor years of bliss or care,

Shall her bright image from my heart destroy!

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