Ellen Beck: Irish Woman Poet

Ellen Beck (1858-1924) was born and lived her life in The Rock, Tyrone, where she served as a school teacher. She published poems and prose sketches under the name Magdalen Rock in The Irish Monthly and in anthologies of religious verse.

7TH OCTOBER, 1571.

A thickening cloud of smoke the sun looked through,
And frenzied cries were heard and moan and prayer;
And standards old and royal ensigns flew
From all the lands of Southern Europe there;
Fluttering they flew, fanned by the noon-day breeze,
From galleys tall and stately argosies.
But though proud Austria’s flag, blue as the sky,
Waved with the flags of Venice and of Spain,
Triumphantly the Crescent floated high,
And Christian blood was poured, and poured in vain
Upon Lepanto’s waters ; ’till at last
Colonna cried, ‘The foes are gaining fast.’
But at that hour, the holy Pontiff prayed
In distant Rome beside our Lady’s shrine,
And begged the Queen of Heaven’s potent aid
For those who bravely fought beneath the Sign
Of man’s redemption ‘gainst the Infidel,
To save the Church her dear Son loved so well.
And lo, the Christian ranks fresh courage found
E’en as the holy Pontiff’s prayer arose,
And brave Colonna’s hopes with sudden bound
Revived again, and man to man the foes
Tought till the Crescent fell. Since that blest day
To her, the Help of Christians, oft we pray.


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