Mary Maguire Colum: Irish Woman Poet

Mary Maguire (1887 – 1957) was born in Fermanagh, attended secondary school in the Netherlands and studied at the National University in Dublin. She is best-known as a critic, but Dirge of the Lone Woman was included in Anthology of Irish Verse, edited by here husband Padraic Colum in 1948 and was reprinted as a broadside by the Dolmon Press the year after her death.

Dirge of the Lone Woman
AS WE entered by that door
We saw the lights a-flame —
A-flame on your bier,
On the bier of you
Who had loved many a one,
Loved many a one!
Then I said to your love,
To her, your latest love,
‘There’s his last room,
His final roof-tree
Who has lived in many a one,
In many a one.
‘A tree never more
Grows to shield him
From the bitter cold and rain,
From the blighting light of love
Which ends many a one —
Ends many a one.
‘There’s his last tree;
You’re his last love:
The new bud in bloom,
The new fruit of the flower
He’ll give to no other one,
To no other one!’
Then they raised up your bier,
They quenched the laggard flame,
And they walked and they walked,
They walked you to the grave,
Where ends many a one —
Ends many a one.
We watched the mould fall
On your last roof-tree;
Then she went on her way
With a rose in her hair,
And I alone with no other one —
With no other one!



Mary Louisa Boyle: Irish Woman Poet

4a href=”” target=”_blank”>NPG x1391; Mary Louisa Boyle by Henry RiggeMary Louisa Boyle (1810 – 1890) was born into the family of the Earl of Cork and Orrery. She was friends with Dickens, Browning and Landor and published widely in verse and prose. The Bride of Melcha; a Dramatic Poem was published in London in 1844.

Scene I. — Room in the King’s Palace,
Enter Feargus and his Sister.
Feargus. And trust me so far, sister, in my place
You ‘d feel as I do — act as I have done.
The heart, whose beats are measured in your breast,
Would flutter, stop, and then begin to knock
Against its prison walls, and cry so loud
‘Twould drown the feebler accents of your lips,
Did they essay to speak, ‘mid such a din.
The will that would surmount all obstacles —
The mind that would o’errule the destiny —
Ay, that same eagerness which dances now
In thy dark eye, and plays around thy lip —
Believe me, Mora, all would be subdued,
Deadened, and overpowered by such a presence.
Mora. No, by my troth! — by every hope I hold
Of peace and freedom to the land I love,
Were I a man, a lover as thou art,
I ‘d work another way: I ‘d gain her heart
With vows of faith, devotion, and the like —
With praises of her beauty — which in vain
You waste upon the wind, that does not care
To waft them to her ear — with half the tales
You lavish on your sister. Night and morn
I ‘d haunt her path: I ‘d stand beside her door
To bid her sleep in peace, or wake in joy:
And when the envious walls concealed her form,
My voice should follow though my steps were checked.
Or I would send melodious messages
Of love — of hopeful, daring, dauntless love!
Fear. Yet tell me, Mora, hast thou never read, —
When for a few short years thy eager mood
Was curbed and guided by the sisterhood
Of Holy Oswald, — hast thou never read
Some sacred legend of a spotless maid,
Whose innocence and purity were spells
To bind, and to unloose? Beneath whose gaze
The powers of earth fell down, and were dismayed —
Before whose modest speech the babbling tongue
Of eloquence was mute, while pious awe
And silent wonder filled the minds of men!