583. The Irish Peasant to His Mistress

Thomas Moore. 1779-1852

THROUGH grief and through danger thy smile hath cheer'd my way,
Till hope seem'd to bud from each thorn that round me lay;
The darker our fortune, the brighter our pure love burn'd,
Till shame into glory, till fear into zeal was turn'd:
Yes, slave as I was, in thy arms my spirit felt free,
And bless'd even the sorrows that made me more dear to thee.

Thy rival was honour'd, while thou wert wrong'd and scorn'd;
Thy crown was of briers, while gold her brows adorn'd;
She woo'd me to temples, whilst thou lay'st hid in caves;
Her friends were all masters, while thine, alas! were slaves;
Yet cold in the earth, at thy feet, I would rather be
Than wed what I loved not, or turn one thought from thee.

They slander thee sorely, who say thy vows are frail--
Hadst thou been a false one, thy cheek had look'd less pale!
They say, too, so long thou hast worn those lingering chains,
That deep in thy heart they have printed their servile stains:
O, foul is the slander!--no chain could that soul subdue--
Where shineth thy spirit, there Liberty shineth too!

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition