Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Call of Home Above All Else

While Catherine Malloy Tully may have passed through a dark time of grieving after the loss of her firstborn daughter, the material she assembled in her remembrance included a melancholy note from a different theme: that of homeland far away. Whether the pain of the one loss directly reminded her of the loss of her childhood homeland, or whether the one evoked a melancholy mood which found resonance with the second theme, I can’t be sure. But pasted just below yesterday’s poem in her paper shrine in remembrance of Daisy was a poem which recalled Catherine’s own roots.

Perhaps thoughts of having lost a loved one brought her to think of another missing family member—her own father, the reason why she ultimately had to leave her own country and settle so far away in Chicago.

This particular poem, once again included as a newspaper clipping pasted upon the old notebook page, was posted in incomplete form. It appears, in this case, that this particular publication omitted what turns out to be the last stanza of the poem. For transcription purposes today, I’ve included the full version as it was printed elsewhere, in The Dublin Penny Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1, by Phillip Dixon Hardy, published by J. S. Folds in 1832.

The Irish Maiden’s Song.

Though lofty Scotia’s mountains,
  Where savage grandeur reigns;
Though bright be England’s fountains,
   And fertile be her plains;
When ’mid their charms I wander,
   Of thee I think the while,
And seems to me the fonder,
                        My own Green Isle!

While many who have left thee
   Seem to forget thy name,
Distance hath not bereft me
   Of thy endearing claim.
Afar from thee sojourning,
   Whether I sigh or smile,
I call thee still, mavourneen.
                        My own Green Isle!

Fair as the glittering waters
   Thy emerald banks that lave,
To me thy gracious daughters,
   Thy generous sons as brave.
Oh! there are hearts within thee
   Which know not shame nor guile,
And such proud homage win thee,
                        My own Green Isle!

For their dear sakes I love thee,
   Ma vourneen, though unseen;
Bright be the sky above thee,
   Thy shamrock evergreen;
May evil ne’er distress thee,
   Nor darken nor defile,
But heaven for ever bless thee,
                        My own Green Isle!


  1. Having been to Ireland on a number of occassions - and seen its immense beauty and lived its subtle charms - I can can testify there is a siren's call - to go back...

    1. I've never been there myself, but that's what I hear from others, Iggy...over and over!

  2. What a lovely poem, and sad at the same time.

    1. Ellie, thanks for stopping by! Yes, the Irish seem to have a melancholy way about them, especially when it comes to immigrants remembering their home.

  3. Your post today brought back other memories for me. My grandmother Agnes Keyes Sigford had a penchant for collecting little poems and saying and sequestering them for safe keeping in bibles, books, and tucked into jewelry boxes. So, thanks for the memories, yours, Catherine's, and mine.

    1. You are so welcome, Joan. I always appreciate having you stop by. Glad today's post evoked some memories for you, too.


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