Posted by Alan King on April 23, 2012 at 14:34:48:
In Reply to: Adderagoole posted by EMC on April 18, 2012 at 23:25:53:
The poem is “The Priest of Adergool” by William Rooney.
There’s someone at the window. Tap! Tap! Tap anew;
Sharp thro’ the silent midnight it speeds the cottage through;
“Some poor soul speeding onward, some sudden call to go
Unshriven on the pathway we all of us must know”.
Thus muses he, that Sagart, as from his couch he flies
And opens full the window where wonder-widened eyes
Look into his, and accents with haste all husky spake-
“The French are in Killala- and all the land’s awake!
“Twas William Burke that told me, as riding he went by
With letters for the Saxons in Castlebar - and I
Came hot upon his footsteps to tell you all I knew,
And let you teach the people what’s best for them to do”
There’s silence for a second: out speaks the Sagart then-
“I’ll follow him that told you: you gather all the men;
Keep watch beside the houses till I come back to you –
And, God to guide our counsels, we’ll then see what to do”
The priest is in the saddle and down the road he flies;
Awhile his echoed paces upon the silence rise,
Then melt into the distance, while figures one by one
Steal out from gloom and shadow and muster in the bawn.
The moonlight floods the mountain; no horseman hies in sight;
No sound comes up the valley to break the hust at night;
Yet on the Sagart presses, and close beside the town
Still wrapped in dream and slumber he runs his quarry down.
A moment more the messenger had yielded up his load,
Another, and a penitent he’s kneeling in the road;
There in the solemn moonlight he pledges hand and heart;
He’s knelt a slave – he rises to do a true man’s part.
“Tis dawnlight on Croagh Patrick and full five hundred men
Are waiting for his counsel; but busy brain and pen
Must mark the way for Freedom o’er bog and mountain lone,
By many a path and togher untravelled and unknown.
“Tis done; and ere that noontide pours over hill and glen
In Ballina they’re standing, that Sagart and his men;
His part is o’er; he may not lift the brand in bloody fray;
But he hath seen his duty – and shown his flock the way.
A few short weeks – the noonday sun shines over Castlebar,
Triumphant through the country rides Ruin near and far;
And on a scaffold proudly a priest stands bound – ‘Tis he
Who rode him through the midnight for Ireland’s liberty!
There’s many a lonely hearthstone to-night in wide Mayo;
There’s many a heart that never again content can know,
But darkness woe and sorrow for him, the true and tried,
Who on the Saxon scaffold that day for freedom died.
We’ll shrine his name and story – bright to guide us on
Till hope has reached its heaven, till gloom and grief are gone,
Till Freemen’s hands may fashion – the name and fame on high
Of all who trod that pathway and showed the way to die.