Páistín Fionn

Ethna Carbery

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O, Páistín Fionn, but it vexed her sore,
The day you turned from your mother's door
For the wide gray sea, and the strife and din
That lie beyond, where the ships go in.

There was always peace in the little town–
The kindly neighbours went up and down,
With a word to you, and a word to me,
And a helping hand where need might be.

The sheltering hills and the rainbow skies,
Set the dreams alight in your boyish eyes,
And the shrill sweet singing from every brake
Stirred in your heart a restless ache.

So you left our glens, and our fishful streams,
To follow the lure of your boyish dreams:
Through the lonely cities you wander long,
Far from the moors and the blackbird's song.

Has the world been good to you, Páistín Fionn
Has the yellow gold that you sought to win
Been worth the toil and the danger dared?
Has plenty blessed you and sorrow spared?

Your mother sits in the dusk alone,
And croons old songs in an undertone,
Old cradle-songs that your childhood knew,
When her folding arms made a world for you.

Her sad heart, loving and hoping on,
Awaits your footsteps from dark to dawn–
The thin cheeks paler and paler grow,
With hunger for you as the hours drift slow.

Then, Páistín Fionn, come back, come back–
A homebound bird o'er the glancing track;
The door is open–the hearth is red–
And our love is calling you, Dear Fair Head.

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