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- Old Spookses' Pass - 37/37 -

I felt the kindlin' of a burning spark. "O, by me sowl, that is the holy truth! There's Rosie's cheek has kept a dimple still, An' Mickie's eyes are bright--the craythur there Died that the weeny ones might eat there fill."

An' whin they spread the daisies thick and white, Above her head that wanst lay on my breast, I had no tears, but took the childhers' hands, An' says, "We'll lave the mother to her rest," An' och! the sod was green that summers day; An' rainbows crossed the low hills, blue an' fair; But black an' foul the blighted furrows stretched, An' sent their cruel poison through the air.

An' all was quiet--on the sunny sides Of hedge an' ditch the stharvin' craythurs lay, An' thim as lack'd the rint from empty walls Of little cabins, wapin' turned away. God's curse lay heavy on the poor ould sod, An' whin upon her increase His right hand Fell with'ringly, there samed no bit of blue For Hope to shine through on the sthricken land.

No facthory chimblys shmoked agin the sky, No mines yawn'd on the hills so full an' rich; A man whose praties failed had nought to do, But fold his hands an' die down in a ditch! A flame rose up widin me feeble heart, Whin passin' through me cabin's hingeless dure, I saw the mark of Shylie's coffin in The grey dust on the empty earthen flure.

I lifted Rosie's face betwixt me hands; Says I, 'Me girleen, you an' Mick an' me, Must lave the green ould sod, an' look for food In thim strange countries far beyant the sea.' An' so it chanced, when landed on the streets, Ould Dolan, rowlin' a quare ould shay, Came there to hire a roan to save his whate, An' hired meself and Mickie by the day.

"An' bring the girleen, Pat," he says, an' looked At Rosie lanin' up agin me knee; "The wife will be right plaised to see the child, The weeney shamrock from beyant the sea. We've got a tidy place, the saints be praised! As nice a farm as ever brogan trod, A hundred acres--us as never owned Land big enough to make a lark a sod!"

"Bedad," sez I, "I heerd them over there Tell how the goold was lyin' in the sthreet, An' guineas in the very mud that sthuck To the ould brogans on a poor man's feet!" "Begorra, Pat," says Dolan, "may ould Nick Fly off wid thim rapscallions, schaming rogues, An' sind thim thrampin' purgatory's flure, Wid red hot guineas in their polished brogues!"

"Och, thin," says I, "meself agrees to that!" Ould Dolan smiled wid eyes so bright an' grey; Says he. "Kape up yer heart--I never knew Since I come out a single hungry day!"

"But thin I left the crowded city sthreets, There men galore to toil in thim an' die, Meself wint wid me axe to cut a home In the green woods beneath the clear, swate sky.

"I did that same: an' God be prais'd this day! Plenty sits smilin' by me own dear dure: An' in them years I never wanst have seen A famished child creep tremblin' on me flure!"

I listened to ould Dolan's honest words, That's twenty years ago this very spring, An' Mick is married--an' me Rosie wears A swateheart's little, shinin' goulden ring.

'Twould make yer heart lape just to take a look At the green fields upon me own big farm; An' God be prais'd! all men may have the same That owns an axe! an' has a strong right arm!

Old Spookses' Pass - 37/37

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