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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Frances Isabel Parnell 1854–82

After Death

SHALL mine eyes behold thy glory, O my country? Shall mine eyes behold thy glory?

Or shall the darkness close around them, ere the sun-blaze break at last upon thy story?

When the nations ope for thee their queenly circle, as a sweet new sister hail thee,

Shall these lips be sealed in callous death and silence, that have known but to bewail thee?

Shall the ear be deaf that only loved thy praises, when all men their tribute bring thee?

Shall the mouth be clay that sang thee in thy squalor, when all poets’ mouths shall sing thee?

Ah, the harpings and the salvos and the shoutings of thy exiled sons returning!

I should hear, though dead and mouldered, and the grave-damps should not chill my bosom’s burning.

Ah, the tramp of feet victorious! I should hear them ’mid the shamrocks and the mosses,

And my heart should toss within the shroud and quiver as a captive dreamer tosses.

I should turn and rend the cere-clothes round me, giant sinews I should borrow—

Crying, “O my brothers, I have also loved her in her loneliness and sorrow.

“Let me join with you the jubilant procession; let me chant with you her story;

Then contented I shall go back to the shamrocks, now mine eyes have seen her glory!”