Yeats' FAIRY AND FOLK
TALES OF THE IRISH PEASANTRY
A LEGEND OF
Crouched round a bare
hearth in hard, frosty weather,
helpless weans cling close together;
Tangled those gold locks, once bonnie
There's no one to fondle the baby tonight.
"My mammie I want; oh! my mammie I want!
The big tears stream down with
the low wailing chant.
Sweet Eily's slight arms enfold the gold
"Poor weeny Willie, sure mammie is dead--
And daddie is crazy from drinking all day--
Come down, holy angels, and
take us away!
Eily and Eddie keep kissing and crying--
Outside, the weird
winds are sobbing and sighing.
All in a moment the children are still,
Only a quick coo of gladness from
The sheeling no longer seems empty or bare,
For, clothed in soft
raiment, the mother stands there.
They gather around her, they cling to her dress;
She rains down soft
kisses for each shy caress.
Her light, loving touches smooth out tangled
And, pressed to her bosom, the baby she rocks.
He lies in his cot, there's a fire on the hearth;
To Eily and Eddy 'tis
heaven on earth,
For mother's deft fingers have been everywhere;
them to rest in the low suggaun1 chair.
They gaze open-eyed, then the eyes gently close,
As petals fold into the
heart of a rose,
But ope soon again in awe, love, but no fear,
they murmur, "Our mammie is here."
She lays them down softly, she wraps them around;
They lie in sweet
slumbers, she starts at a sound,
The cock loudly crows, and the spirit's
The drunkard steals in at the dawning of day.
Again and again, 'tween the dark and the dawn,
Glides in the dead mother
to nurse Willie Bawn:
Or is it an angel who sits by the hearth?
in heaven, a mother on earth.
made of twisted straw ropes.