Fair rose the day star ’mid the smiles of Heaven,
And nature’s flowery garb bedeck’d the lawn—
Each bending spray with dew-drops thickly gemmed—
The opening blossoms sent forth rich perfume—
When thus I strayed, reckless of earth-born cares,
O’er the proud summit of Slievegallin fair—
Mountain renowned in song—by me adored—
Where beauty’s richest works profusely swell
With varied scenes, that boast unequalled grandeur.
There, ’midst the flow of all my boyish thoughts,
I pondered o’er the mighty days gone by,
When Erin’s bards awoke their native strain,
And touched the chord of sainted melody,
Whilst from the harp, in dulcet numbers flowed
The soul of music, wafted on the breeze.
    Thus, as I wandered o’er the daisied banks,
I cast my eye tow’rds that loved Cot below— [Page 209]
Home of my childhood—seat of blissful hours:
But now that home’s no more, nor inmates dear,
Nor blissful hours—for gone’s my every joy!
How sad the thought!—how painfully severe
With memory now to range, and re-survey
The sunny moments of my school-boy days—
When oft I lightly brushed the morning dew—
And, with the friends then dearest to my bosom,
Culled the sweet primrose from the thorny hedge—
Or sauntered by the purling brook, to see
The speckled trout dance in the solar beam—
Or with the maid I loved, whose glowing cheek
And sparkling eye, and manners mid, inviting—
I fondly walked, whilst rapture filled my soul,
And pulled the lily from the flowery plain—
An offering for my love—as slow we moved
Tow’rds that famed Fort,* the pride of Tullinagee— [Page 210]
Fit seat for gods—and long the loved abode
Of Erin’s sages and immortal bards.
    Ye fairy dreams of bliss! where are ye now?
Where now the dear companions of my youth?
And where is she, that made this earth a heaven,
And blessed me with her smiles—or with a look
Of love, that chased away the gloom of care,
And made me more than happy—more than blest—
Carrying my soul to highest ecstacy!
Has Heaven thus proved severe, and ruined all?
Crushing my hopes, just in their morning bloom—
The flower, ah! nipped before its sweets were shed!
Yes, Heaven has proved severe—what have I said?
Oh! Heaven forgive—nor let my anguish keen
Inspire one thought rebellious ’gainst thy throne.
    The chain is snapped—yea, snapped the tender chain
That linked me to this earth—and every finer tie [Page 211]
Is burst asunder—nor can summer’s eve,
When youths light-hearted dance upon the green,
Longer delight—nor aught of rural sports.
Tell me, my soul—ah! can I e’er forget
Th’ afflictive day I sought the Tomoch’s brow,
To gaze upon the boiling surge below,
Where foaming billows beat the hoary cliffs
On Erin’s shore—and view the bowers of green—
The ivied turrets—seats of classic lore—
And tomb, where slept all life made dear to me!
This done, I shed the big and parting tear,
And sighed to that loved spot a last farewell! [Page 212]

* This Fort, called by the Irish Forth, is a standing monument of Danish ingenuity—and for beauty and grandeur perhaps not excelled in the British Empire. It is beautifully situated close to my native village, in the romantic townland of Tullinagee, in the county of Londonderry. From this latter place the greatest statesman that ever adorned the British Cabinet derived his title. [back]