By that lake whose gloomy shore (poem)

By That Lake Whose Gloomy Shore
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Thomas Moore
Public Domain Image
Air to song the Brown Irish Girl
Courtesy of National Library of Scotland

Thomas Moore (1779–1852)

By that lake whose gloomy shore
Skylark never warbles o’er,
Where the cliff hangs high and steep,
Young Saint Kevin stole to sleep.
“Here, at least,” he calmly said,
“Woman ne’er shall find my bed.”
Ah! the good saint little knew
What that wily sex can do.

’Twas from Kathleen’s eyes he flew,
Eyes of most unholy blue!
She had loved him well and long,
Wished him hers, nor thought it wrong.
Wheresoe’er the saint would fly,
Still he heard her light foot nigh;
East or west, where’er he turned,
Still her eyes before him burned.

On the bold cliff’s bosom cast,
Tranquil now he sleeps at last;
Dreams of heaven, nor thinks that e’er
Woman’s smile can haunt him there.
But nor earth nor heaven is free
From her power, if fond she be:
Even now, while calm he sleeps,
Kathleen o’er him leans and weeps.

Fearless she had tracked his feet
To this rocky, wild retreat;
And when morning met his view,
Her mild glances met it too.
Ah, your saints have cruel hearts!
Sternly from his bed he starts,
And with rude, repulsive shock,
Hurls her from the beetling rock.

Glendalough, thy gloomy wave
Soon was gentle Kathleen’s grave!
Soon the saint (yet ah! too late)
Felt her love, and mourned her fate.
When he said, “Heaven rest her soul!”
Round the lake light music stole;
And her ghost was seen to glide,
Smiling o’er the fatal tide.

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