Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
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Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
 
61. The Grave of Rury
 
By T. W. Rolleston
 
 
CLEAR as air, the western waters
evermore their sweet, unchanging song
Murmur in their stony channels
round O’Conor’s sepulchre in Cong.
 
Crownless, hopeless, here he lingered;        5
year on year went by him like a dream,
While the far-off roar of conquest
murmured faintly like the singing stream.
 
Here he died, and here they tombed him
men of Fechin, chanting round his grave.        10
Did they know, ah! did they know it,
what they buried by the babbling wave?
 
Now above the sleep of Rury
holy things and great have passed away;
Stone by stone the stately Abbey        15
falls and fades in passionless decay.
 
Darkly grows the quiet ivy,
pale the broken arches glimmer through;
Dark upon the cloister-garden
dreams the shadow of the ancient yew.        20
 
Through the roofless aisles the verdure
flows, the meadow-sweet and fox-glove bloom.
Earth, the mother and consoler,
winds soft arms about the lonely tomb.
 
Peace and holy gloom possess him,        25
last of Gaelic monarchs of the Gael,
Slumbering by the young, eternal
river-voices of the western vale.
 
This is the Roderick O’Connor of English history. After his defeat by the Normans the office of the High King was allowed to lapse in accordance with the terms of the treaty of Windsor. This king was then “Last of Gaelic monarchs of the Gael.”

  “Ruraidh O’Conchobhar, last king of Ireland, died and was buried in the monastery of St. Fechin at Cong, where his grave is still shown in that most beautiful and pathetic of Irish ruins. All accounts agree in this, but some have it that his remains were afterwards transferred to Clonmacnoise by the Shannon.” Author’s note.
 

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