Poet: Aubrey Thomas Hunt de Vere
Dates: 10 January 1814 – 20 January 1902
Title of Poem: Roisin Dubh
O who are thou with that queenly brow
And uncrowned head?
And why is the vest that binds thy breast,
O’er the heart, blood-red?
Like a rose-bud in June that spot at noon,
A rose-bud weak;
But it deepens and grows like a July rose:
Death-pale thy cheek.
“The babes I fed at my foot lay dead;
I saw them die;
In Ramah a blast went wailing past;
It was Rachel’s cry.
But I stand sublime on the shores of Time,
And I pour mine ode,
As Miriam sang to the cymbals’ clang,
On the wind to God.
“Once more at my feasts my bards and priests
Shall sit and eat:
And the Shepherd whose sheep are on every steep
Shall bless my meat;
Oh, sweet, men say, is the song by day,
And the feast by night;
But on poisons I thrive, and in death survive
Through ghostly night.”
Brief Biography: De Vere was a poet renowned for his explorations into Irish Celtic legend and literature, creating a scholastic revival in the subject among academics. He also wrote devotional poetry heavily influenced by his transition to Roman Catholicism.