And you were all I had, Mary,

My blessing and my pride;
There's nothing left to care for now,

Since my poor Mary died !

Your’s was the brave good heart, Mary,

That still kept hoping on, When the trust in God had left my soul,

And my arm's young strength was gone : There was comfort ever on your lip,

And the kind look on your brow; I bless you for the same, Mary,

Though you cannot hear me now.

I thank you for that patient smile,

When your heart was like to break, When the hunger-pain was gnawing there,

And you hid it, for my sake!
I bless you for the pleasant word,

When your heart was sad and sore ;
Oh! I'm thankful you are gone, Mary,

Where grief can sting no more.

I'm bidding you a long farewell,

My Mary, kind and true,
But I'll not forget you, darling,

In the land I'm going to :
They say there's bread and work for all,

And the sun shines always there;
But I'll not forget Old Ireland,

Were it fifty times as fair !

And often in those grand old woods,

I'll sit and shut my eyes,
And my heart will travel back again,

To the place where Mary lies;

And I'll think I see that little style,

Where we sat side by side,
And the springing corn, and the bright May morn,
When first you were my bride!



DARK is the night! how dark! no light! no fire !
Cold, on the hearth, the last faint sparks expire !
Shivering she watches by the cradle side,
For him who pledged her love — last year a bride!

“Hark! 'tis his footstep! No— 'tis past : 'tis gone :
Tick ! — Tick!-How wearily the time crawls on !
Why should he leave me thus ? He once was kind !
And I believed 'twould last — how mad !- how blind !

“Rest thee, my babe!— Rest on ! — 'Tis hunger's cry!
Sleep !—for there is no food! the fount is dry !
Famine and cold their wearying work have done,
My heart must break ! — And thou!” The clock strikes one.

“Hush! 'tis the dice-box! Yes, he's there, he's there,
For this! for this he leaves me to despair !
Leaves love ! leaves truth! his wife ! his child ! for what ?
The wanton's smile — the villain — and the sot !

“ Yet I'll not curse him! No! 'tis all in vain ! 'Tis long to wait, but sure he'll come again ! And I could starve and bless him, but for you, My child !- his child! – Oh fiend !” The clock strikes two. “Hark! how the sign-board creaks! The blast howls by! Moan! moan! A dirge swells through the cloudy sky! Ha! 'tis his knock! he comes ! - he comes once more ! 'Tis but the lattice flaps ! Thy hope is o'er.

“ Can he desert me thus ? He knows I stay
Night after night in loneliness to pray
For his return — and yet he sees no tear !
No! no! it cannot be. He will be here.

“Nestle more closely, dear one, to my heart !
Thou’rt cold! thou’rt freezing! But we will not part.
Husband ! — I die! — Father ! — It is not he!
Oh God! protect my child !” The clock strikes three.

They're gone! they're gone! the glimmering spark hath fled,
The wife and child are number'd with the dead !
On the cold hearth, out-stretch'd in solemn rest,
The child lies frozen on its mother's breast !
The gambler came at last — but all was o’er —
Dead silence reign’d around — The clock struck four!



With fingers weary and worn,

With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread - .

Stitch — stitch — stitch !
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,

And still with a voice of dolorous pitch
She sang the “ Song of the Shirt !”

“ Work – work — work! While the cock is crowing aloof!

And work — work — work !
Till the stars shine through the roof!
Its O to be a slave

Along with the barbarous Turk, Where woman has never a soul to save,

If this is Christian work !

Work — work — work !
Till the brain begins to swim !

Work — work — work!
Till the eyes are heavy and dim !

Seam, and gusset, and band,

Band, and gusset, and seam, Till over the buttons I fall asleep,

And sew them on in a dream!

O! men, with sisters dear !

0! men, with mothers and wives ! It is not linen you're wearing out, But human creatures' lives !

Stitch — stitch — stitch ! In poverty, hunger, and dirt, Sewing at once, with a double thread,

A shroud as well as a shirt.

But why do I talk of Death ?

That phantom of grisly bone,
I hardly fear his terrible shape,

It seems so like my own.
It seems so like my own,

Because of the fasts I keep ;
Oh God! that bread should be so dear,

And flesh and blood so cheap!

Work — work — work !

My labor never flags;
And what are its wages ? A bed of straw,

A crust of bread — and rags.
That shatter'd roof, and this naked floor -

A table — a broken chair –
And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank

For sometimes falling there !

Work — work — work! .
From weary chime to chime;

Work — work -- work!
As prisoners work for crime !

Band, and gusset, and seam,

Seam, and gusset, and band, Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumbed, As well as the weary hand.

Work — work — work !
In the dull December light !

And work — work — work!
When the weather is warm and bright —
While underneath the eaves

The brooding swallows cling,
As if to show me their sunny backs,

And twit me with the spring.

Oh but to breathe the breath,
Of the cowslip and primrose sweet ---

With the sky above my head,
And the grass beneath my feet;
For only one short hour,

To feel as I used to feel, Before I knew the woes of want,

And the walk that costs a meal !

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