Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
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Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
 
131. The Dark Palace
 
By Alice Milligan
 
 
THERE beams no light from thy hall to-night,
  Oh, House of Fame;
No mead-vat seethes and no smoke upwreathes
  O’er the hearth’s red flame;
No high bard sings for the joy of thy kings,        5
  And no harpers play;
No hostage moans as thy dungeon rings
  As in Muircherteach’s day.
 
Fallen! fallen! to ruin all in
  The covering mould;        10
The painted yew, and the curtains blue,
  And the cups of gold;
The linen, yellow as the corn when mellow,
  That the princes wore;
And the mirrors brazen for your queens to gaze in,        15
  They are here no more.
 
The sea-bird’s pinion thatched Gormlai’s grinnan;
  And through windows clear,
Without crystal pane, in her Ard-righ’s reign
  She looked from here        20
There were quilts of eider on her couch of cedar;
  And her silken shoon
Were as green and soft as the leaves aloft
  On a bough in June.
 
Ah, woe unbounded where the harp once sounded        25
  The wind now sings;
The grey grass shivers where the mead in rivers
  Was outpoured for kings;
The min and the mether are lost together
  With the spoil of the spears;        30
The strong dun only has stood dark and lonely
  Through a thousand years.
 
But I’m not in woe for the wine-cup’s flow,
  For the banquet’s cheer,
For tall princesses with their trailing tresses        35
  And their broidered gear;
My grief and my trouble for this palace noble
  With no chief to lead
’Gainst the Saxon stranger on the day of danger
  Out of Aileach Neid.        40
 

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