This week I picked number 64 from the top 100 Irish poems list. An Irish poem translated into English.
The poem Dark Rosaleen is a poem about love. In fact, a love song about Ireland. At the time any sort of political expression was outlawed. And this poem is supposed to be Hugh O’Donnell’s address to Ireland at a time when the Irish chiefs were expecting help from Spain and from the Pope.
This is James Mangan’s most famous poem “Dark Rosaleen,” which are a love lament and a political poem all in one. It was written in the dark famine year of 1846, Mangan published two powerful poems, Siberia and Dark Rosaleen, which clearly demonstrated there was a way to speak out. Enjoy this powerful Irish poem.
BY JAMES CLARENCE MANGAN
O my dark Rosaleen,Do not sigh, do not weep!The priests are on the ocean green,They march along the deep.There’s wine from the royal Pope,Upon the ocean green;And Spanish ale shall give you hope,My Dark Rosaleen!My own Rosaleen!Shall glad your heart, shall give you hope,Shall give you health, and help, and hope,My Dark Rosaleen!Over hills, and thro’ dales,Have I roam’d for your sake;All yesterday I sail’d with sailsOn river and on lake.The Erne, at its highest flood,I dash’d across unseen,For there was lightning in my blood,My Dark Rosaleen!My own Rosaleen!O, there was lightning in my blood,Red lighten’d thro’ my blood.My Dark Rosaleen!All day long, in unrest,To and fro, do I move.The very soul within my breastIs wasted for you, love!The heart in my bosom faintsTo think of you, my Queen,My life of life, my saint of saints,My Dark Rosaleen!My own Rosaleen!To hear your sweet and sad complaints,My life, my love, my saint of saints,My Dark Rosaleen!Woe and pain, pain and woe,Are my lot, night and noon,To see your bright face clouded so,Like to the mournful moon.But yet will I rear your throneAgain in golden sheen;‘Tis you shall reign, shall reign alone,My Dark Rosaleen!My own Rosaleen!‘Tis you shall have the golden throne,‘Tis you shall reign, and reign alone,My Dark Rosaleen!Over dews, over sands,Will I fly, for your weal:Your holy delicate white handsShall girdle me with steel.At home, in your emerald bowers,From morning’s dawn till e’en,You’ll pray for me, my flower of flowers,My Dark Rosaleen!My fond Rosaleen!You’ll think of me through daylight hoursMy virgin flower, my flower of flowers,My Dark Rosaleen!I could scale the blue air,I could plough the high hills,Oh, I could kneel all night in prayer,To heal your many ills!And one beamy smile from youWould float like light betweenMy toils and me, my own, my true,My Dark Rosaleen!My fond Rosaleen!Would give me life and soul anew,My Dark Rosaleen!O, the Erne shall run red,With redundance of blood,The earth shall rock beneath our tread,And flames wrap hill and wood,And gun-peal and slogan-cryWake many a glen serene,Ere you shall fade, ere you shall die,My Dark Rosaleen!My own Rosaleen!The Judgement Hour must first be nigh,Ere you can fade, ere you can die,My Dark Rosaleen!