Henry O'Meara Ballads of America

Decoration

JOHN BOYLE O'REILLY *

LOST to men's eyes, the beams so loving given
Of him by whose life's rending ours was riven -
The virile brain, suffused in blazoned light,
Turned swift from flush of noon to shroud of night,
The heart, whose cords we dreamt no fate should sever,
Torn now from vibrant touch of ours' forever!
Can we believe this throbbing Nature dead -
Speak the cold word that notes a spirit fled?
That is too dark in prosy gloom- too drear -
For chosen son of Poesy and Cheer.
Earth's veil no more his' radiance conceals -
This' rent his full-orbed being's ray reveals',
With rounded gleam that conjures to our gaze
His diorama wrought of 'lumined days.
 
To goal of loftiest dream a hero bends
And Sings a martial strain as' he ascends;
Anigh the summit's steep the youth arrives,
Fronted with gibbets - bound with felons' gyves';
For patriot crime that despot ne'er condoned,
Sent forth as one dishonored and disowned -
A lot that never e'en the solace gave
To kneel above a grief-spent mother's grave.
 
Though exile fate weighed sore on thought and. will-
The poet's proud soul rose, unfettered still;
 
In harshest realms new scenes of beauty learned,
New lessons charged with heaven-hued love discerned;
And yet not all that fancy deemed most good -
Banyan, nor banksia glade, nor Austral wood,
Jungle of India, - flora of Cathay -
Not gorgeous South, nor "Land of the Malay,"
Nor Java slumbering in her yellow air
Could ever, for his filial eyes, compare
With that lost Motherland, in plaint, so sweet,
Whose face his life was nevermore to meet.
 
But now that life, denied to Old World view,
Was' lit to shine in iris of the New,
Twin hemispheres in vision to embrace,
With arching how to span each storm-bent race.
Here were his Nature's wide refracted beams
To shed divergent yet concentred gleams
As diamond facets rival glintings show
While all are blent in iridescent glow.
 
O friend, who from the hour you touched this Western land,
Has held our captive heart-strings in your hand,
You wove our loves in one - proving with voice and pen
What life-Spun web a man may Spread for men,
Knit with the threads of Sympathy that bind -
The interlacing ties' that link mankind!
 
Decoration
WEALTH AND WORTH CONTENTS A LIFE'S LOVE SONG

 

Edited and formatted by Sheldon Brown

updated Wednesday, April 19, 2000
URL: http://sheldonbrown.com/omeara/oreilly.html
Copyright © 2000 Sheldon Brown