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Poem by Francis Ledwidge


The Dead Kings


All the dead kings came to me
At Rosnaree, where I was dreaming,
A few stars glimmered through the morn,
And down the thorn the dews were streaming.
 
And every dead king had a story
Of ancient glory, sweetly told.
It was too early for the lark,
But the starry dark had tints of gold.
 
I listened to the sorrows three
Of that Eire passed into song.
A cock crowed near a hazel croft,
And up aloft dim larks winged strong.
 
And I, too, told the kings a story
Of later glory, her fourth sorrow:
There was a sound like moving shields
In high green fields and the lowland furrow.
 
And one said: We who yet are kings
Have heard these things lamenting inly.
Sweet music flowed from many a bill
And on the hill the morn stood queenly.
 
And one said: Over is the singing,
And bell bough ringing, whence we come;
With heavy hearts well tread the shadows,
In honey meadows birds are dumb.
 
And one said: Since the poets perished
And all they cherished in the way,
Their thoughts unsung, like petal showers
Inflame the hours of blue and grey.
 
And one said: A loud tramp of men
Well hear again at Rosnaree.
A bomb burst near me where I lay.
I woke, twas day in Picardy.



Francis Ledwidge


Francis Ledwidge's other poems:
  1. At Currabwee
  2. Spring and Autumn
  3. Behind the Closed Eye
  4. After Court Martial
  5. To a Sparrow


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