Cormac and Mary

SHE is not dead - she has no grave -
She lives beneath Lough Corrib's water [Galway];
And in the murmur of each wave
Methinks I catch the songs I taught her."

Thus many an evening on the shore
Sat Cormac raving wild and lowly;
Still idly muttering o'er and o'er,
She lives, detain'd by spells unholy.

"Death claims her not, too fair for earth,
Her spirit lives - alien of heaven;
Nor will it know: a second birth
When sinful mortals are forgiven !

Cold is this rock - the wind comes chill,
And mists the gloomy waters cover;
But oh! her soul is colder still -
To lose her God - to leave her lover ! "

The lake was in profound repose,
Yet one white wave came gently curling,
And as it reach'd the shore, arose
Dim figures - banners gay unfurling.

Onward they move, an airy crowd:
Through each thin form a moonlight ray shone;
While spear and helm, in pageant proud,
Appear in liquid undulation.

Bright barbed steeds curvetting tread
Their trackless way with antic capers;
And curtain clouds hang overhead,
Festoon'd by rainbow-colour'd vapours.

And when a breath of air would stir
That drapery of Heaven's own wreathing,
Light wings of prismy gossamer
Just moved and sparkled to the breathing.

Nor wanting was the choral song,
Swelling in silv'ry chimes of sweetness;
To sound of which this subtile throng
Advanced in playful grace and fleetness.

With music's strain, all came and went
Upon poor Cormac's doubting vision;
Now rising in wild merriment,
Now softly fading in derision.

"Christ, save her soul," he boldly cried;
And when that blessed name was spoken,
Fierce yells and fiendish shrieks replied,
And vanished all, - the spell was broken.

And now on Corrib's lonely shore,
Freed by his word from power of faery,
To life, to love, restored once more,
Young Cormac welcomes back his Mary.

Source: Thomas Crofton Croker - Fairy Legends and Traditions, first published 1825.

republished by: Collins Press, Cork, 1998.


horizontal rule


All Web Design Equipment supplied by Swift Micro Systems, part of SMS Computer Group. All Hosting and Support supplied by SMS Computer Group, Units 6, 7 & 8 Townsend Industrial Park, 28 Townsend Street,   Belfast BT 13 2SE, N.Ireland.

Phone. 028 90 322223 ; Fax. 028 90 320346 : E-mail. ; WEB SITE .