Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
The Irish Wife
 
Thomas D’Arcy McGee (1825–68)
 
 
I WOULD not give my Irish wife
  For all the dames of the Saxon land;
I would not give my Irish wife
  For the Queen of France’s hand;
For she to me is dearer        5
  Than castles strong, or lands, or life:
An outlaw—so I ’m near her
  To love till death my Irish wife.
 
O what would be this home of mine,
  A ruin’d, hermit-haunted place,        10
But for the light that nightly shines
  Upon its walls from Kathleen’s face!
What comfort in a mine of gold,
  What pleasure in a royal life,
If the heart within lay dead and cold,        15
  If I could not wed my Irish wife?
 
I knew the law forbade the banns;
  I knew my king abhorr’d her race;
Who never bent before their clans
  Must bow before their ladies’ grace.        20
Take all my forfeited domain,
  I cannot wage with kinsmen strife:
Take knightly gear and noble name,
  And I will keep my Irish wife.
 
My Irish wife has clear blue eyes,        25
  My heaven by day, my stars by night;
And twin-like truth and fondness lie
  Within her swelling bosom white
My Irish wife has golden hair,
  Apollo’s harp had once such strings,        30
Apollo’s self might pause to hear
  Her bird-like carol when she sings.
 
I would not give my Irish wife
  For all the dames of the Saxon land;
I would not give my Irish wife        35
  For the Queen of France’s hand;
For she to me is dearer
  Than castles strong, or lands, or life:
In death I would be near her,
  And rise beside my Irish wife.        40
 

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