Kate of Kenmare

Denis MacCarthy

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Oh! many bright eyes full of goodness and gladness,
Where the pure soul looks out, and the heart loves to shine,
And many cheeks pale with the soft hue of sadness,
Have I worshipped in silence and felt them divine!
But Hope in its gleamings, or Love in its dreamings,
Ne'er fashioned a being so faultless and fair
As the lily-cheeked beauty, the rose of the Roughty,
The fawn of the valley, sweet Kate of Kenmare!

It was all but a moment, her radiant existence,
Her presence, her absence, all crowded on me;
But time has not ages and earth has not distance
To sever, sweet vision, my spirit from thee!
Again am I straying where children are playing,
Bright is the sunshine and balmy the air,
Mountains are heathy, and there do I see thee,
Sweet fawn of the valley, young Kate of Kenmare!

Thine arbutus beareth full many a cluster
Of white waxen blossoms like lilies in air;
But, oh! thy pale cheek hath a delicate lustre
No blossoms can rival, no lily doth wear;
To that cheek softly flushing, thy lip brightly blushing,
Oh! what are the berries that bright tree doth bear?
Peerless in beauty, that rose of the Roughty,
That fawn of the valley, sweet Kate of Kenmare!

O Beauty! some spell from kind Nature thou bearest,
Some magic of tone or enchantment of eye,
That hearts that are hardest, from forms that are fairest,
Receive such impressions as never can die!
The foot of the fairy, though lightsome and airy,[13]
Can stamp on the hard rock the shapes it doth wear;
Art cannot trace it, nor ages efface it:
And such are thy glances, sweet Kate of Kenmare!

To him who far travels how sad is the feeling,
How the light of his mind is o'ershadowed and dim,
When the scenes he most loves, like a river's soft stealing,
All fade as a vision and vanish from him!
Yet he bears from each far land a flower for that garland
That memory weaves of the bright and the fair;
While this sigh I am breathing my garland is wreathing,
And the rose of that garland is Kate of Kenmare!

In lonely Lough Quinlan in summer's soft hours,
Fair islands are floating that move with the tide,
Which, sterile at first, are soon covered with flowers,
And thus o'er the bright waters fairy-like glide.
Thus the mind the most vacant is quickly awakened,
And the heart bears a harvest that late was so bare,
Of him who in roving finds objects of loving,
Like the fawn of the valley, sweet Kate of Kenmare!

Sweet Kate of Kenmare! though I ne'er may behold thee,
Though the pride and the joy of another thou be,
Though strange lips may praise thee, and strange arms enfold thee,
A blessing, dear Kate, be on them and on thee!
One feeling I cherish that never can perish--
One talisman proof to the dark wizard care--
The fervent and dutiful love of the Beautiful,
Of which thou art a type, gentle Kate of Kenmare!

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