CANADIAN BALLADS,

AND

OCCASIONAL VERSES.

By Thomas D’Arcy McGee


 

WOMAN’S PRAISE.



I.
 


The myriad harps of Erin oft,
                      In other days,
Were by enthusiast minstrels strung
                      In Woman’s praise;
And though they sometimes stooped to sing

5
 

                      The praise of wine,
Still, nightly, did each trembling string
                      Resound with thine.


II.
 


“Oh, who,” (these ancient Rhymers asked,)
                      “Would dwell alone,

10
 

That could win woman to his side,
                      For aye, his own?
Oh, cold would be the household cheer,”
                      (’Twas so, they said,)
“But for the light the mistress dear

15
 

                      O’er all things shed. [Page 111]


III.
 


“And barren many a harp would be,
                      And many a brain,
If woman, Queen of Minstrelsie,
                      Lent not the strain;

20
 

And many a heavy tear would chill
                      On misery’s cheek,
If woman were not present still
                      Her word to speak.


IV.
 


“Ye who have seen her gentle hand

25
 

                      Do timely deeds,
In haunts where misery made a stand,
                      And men were reeds—
Ye who have seen the fetter chain
                      Undone by them,

30
 

Find, find for that a fitting name,
                      Ye vaunting men!


V.
 


“Oh! blessed be the God that dower’d
                      The earth with these—
Our truest, firmest, noblest friends

35
 

                      In woe or ease.
Blessed for the grace that makes the earth
                      Beneath their feet
A garden, and that fills the air
                      With music meet. [Page 112]

40

VI.
 


“And still, whate’er our fate may be,”
                      (Your minstrel saith,)
“Let woman but be near, and we
                      Will smile in death—
Whate’er the scene, where woman’s grief

45
 

                      And woman’s sigh
Can mingle round, there Bard and Chief
                      May fitly die.” [Page 113]