My favourite stream! once more I come
Along thy grassy banks to roam;
Into thy glassy tide to gaze
And dream of dear departed days.
Since first thy verdant banks I ranged
Changed is the world, and I am changed:
Bright looked the world and hopeful then –
‘Twill ne’er look so to me again.
Bright hopes buoyed up my youthful breast,
Sorrow was seldom then its guest:
The future sunny seemed and fair –
Ere I was introduced to care.
I hoped true love on me would smile,
I hoped to help my hapless isle –
With voice and pen much good to do
In the dear cause of Roisin Dhu.
To-day, dear stream, how do I stand?
Nought have I helped my native land;
Her foes too strong, too weak am I –
I can but think of her, and sigh.
In vain I’ve loved, I’ve toiled in vain;
What once gave pleasure now gives pain:
Of youth’s bright hopes now scarce a spark
Remains to light me in the dark.
Dear stream! if fate still lets me rove
Along the verdant banks I love,
When dark the present looks I’ll flee
Back to the bygones, back to thee.
‘The Bard of Foremass’
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone.