Monday, August 8, 2016

THE IRISH SHAMROCK IN SOUTH AFRICA, a poem

O LITTLE plant, so meek and slight,
     Tinct with the emerald of the sea
Which like a mother, day and night,
          Croons melodies to thee;
Emblem of Erin's hope and pride!
Though crushed and trampled under foot,
          Thou still art found
          The meadows round,
Up-springing from thine own sweet root!

Of sorrow thou hast been the sign
     Through weary, unforgiving years;
The dews upon thy tender vine
     Have seemed thy country's tears;
Now, now, forevermore, thou art
     Symbol of all that's brave and true—
          Blest as a smile
          Of thy sunlit isle,
In the Old World honored, and the New!

     For they lie asleep in a land of strangers,—
Far from the home their fame endears—
     The Inniskillings, the Connaught Rangers,
               The Dublin Fusiliers;
     And the little plant they loved so well—
          Better than fairest flower that blows—
               Is set apart
               In Britannia's heart
     With the Scottish thistle and the rose:

     Is set apart, and never again
          Shall human eyes the shamrock see
     Without a thought of the heroes slain
               Whose splendid loyalty,
     Stronger than ancient hate or wrong,
     Sublimed them 'midst the battle's hell—
               A tidal wave
               From the souls of the brave,
     That made them deathless as they fell!
"The Irish Shamrock in South Africa" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

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