James Clarence Mangan, “Hussey’s Ode to the Maguire”
(From the Irish of Ó hEochaisaidh)

Where is my Chief, my Master, this bleak night,
O, cold, cold, miserably cold is this bleak night for
It’s showery, arrowy, speary sleet pierceth one
  through and through,
Pierceth one to the very bone!
Rolls real thunder? Or was that red, livid light
Only a meteor? I scarce know; but through the
  midnight dim
The pitiless ice-wind streams. Except the hate
  that persecutes him
Nothing hath crueller venomy might.

An awful, a tremendous night is this, meseems!
The flood-gates of the rivers of heaven, I think,
  have been burst wide -
Down from the overcharged clouds, like unto
  headlong ocean’s tide,
Descends grey rain in roaring streams.

Though he were even a wolf ranging the round
  green woods,
Though he were even a pleasant salmon in the
  unchainable sea,
Though he were a wild mountain eagle, he could
  scarce bear, he,
This sharp, sore sleet, these howling floods.

O, mournful is my soul this night for Hugh Maguire!
Darkly, as in a dream, he strays! Before him and
Triumphs the tyrannous anger of the wounding wind,
The wounding wind, that burns as fire!

It is my bitter grief - it cuts me to the heart -
That in the country of Clan Darry this should be his fate!
O, woe is me, where is he? Wandering, houseless,
Alone, without or guide or chart!

Medreams I see just now his face, the strawberry
Uplifted to the blackened heavens, while the
  tempestuous winds
Blow fiercely over and round him, and the smiting
  sleetshower blinds
The hero of Galang to-night!

Large, large affliction unto me and mine it is,
That one of his majestic bearing, his fair, stately
Should thus be tortured and o’erborne - that this
  unsparing storm

Should wreak its wrath on head like his!
That his great hand, so oft the avenger of the
Should this chill, churlish night, perchance, be
  paralysed by frost -
While through some icicle-hung thicket - as one
  lorn and lost
He walks and wanders without rest.

The tempest-driven torrent deluges the mead,
It overflows the low banks of the rivulets andponds.
The lawns and pasture-grounds lie locked in icy bonds
So that the cattle cannot feed.

The pale bright margins of the streams are seen
  by none.
Rushes and sweeps along the untamable flood on
  every side -
It penetrates and fills the cottagers’ dwellings far
  and wide -
Water and land are blent in one.

Through some dark woods, ’mid bones of
  monsters, Hugh now strays.
As he confronts the storm with anguished heart,
  but manly brow
O! what a sword-wound to that tender heart of
  his were now
A backward glance at peaceful days.

But other thoughts are his - thoughts that can
  still inspire
With joy and an onward-bounding hope the
  bosom of Mac-Nee
Thoughts of his warriors charging like bright
  billows of the sea,
Borne on the wind’s wings, flashing fire!

And though frost glaze to-night the clear dew of
  his eyes.
And white ice-gauntlets glove his noble fine fair
  fingers o’er,
A warm dress is to him that lightning-garb he ever
The lightning of the soul, not skies.

Avran: Hugh marched forth to the fight - I
  grieved to see him so depart;
And lo! to-night he wanders frozen, rain-drenched,
  sad, betrayed
But the memory of the limewhite mansions his right
  hand hath laid
In ashes, warms the hero’s heart!


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