Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
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Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
 
128. Kathleen-Ni-Houlahan
 
By James Clarence Mangan (Translated)
 
 
LONG they pine in weary woe, the nobles of our land,
Long they wander to and fro, proscribed, alas! and banned;
Feastless, houseless, altarless, they bear the exile’s brand,
  But their hope is in the coming-to of Kathleen-Ni-Houla-han!
 
Think her not a ghastly hag, too hideous to be seen,        5
Call her not unseemly names, our matchless Kathleen;
Young is she, and fair she is, and would be crowned a queen,
  Were the King’s son at home here with Kathleen-Ni-Houlahan!
 
Sweet and mild would look her face, O none so sweet and mild,
Could she crush her foes by whom her beauty is reviled;        10
Woollen plaids would grace herself and robes of silk her child,
  If the King’s son were living here with Kathleen-Ni-Houlahan!
 
Sore disgrace it is to see the Arbitress of Thrones
Vassal to a Saxoneen of cold and sapless bones!
Bitter anguish wrings our souls—with heavy sighs and groans        15
  We wait the Young Deliverer of Kathleen-Ni-Houlahan!
 
Let us pray to Him who holds Life’s issues in his hands—
Him who formed the mighty globe, with all its thousand lands;
Girding them with seas and moutains, rivers deep, and strands,
  To case a look of pity upon Kathleen-Ni-Houlahan!        20
 
He, who over sands and waves led Israel along—
He, who fed, with heavenly bread, that chosen tribe and throng—
He, who stood by Moses, when his foes were fierce and strong—
  May He show forth His might in saving Kathleen-Ni-Houlahan.
 

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