I speak with a proud tongue of the people who were
And the people who are,
The worthy of Ardara, the Rosses and Inishkeel,
My kindred —
The people of the hills and the dark-haired passes
My neighbours on the lift of the brae,
In the lap of the valley.
To them Slainthe!
I speak of the old men,
Who dodder about foot-weary —
For their day is as the day that has been and is no more —
Who warm their feet by the fire,
And recall memories of the times that are gone;
Who kneel in the lamplight and pray
For the peace that has been theirs —
And who beat one dry-veined hand against another
Even in the sun —
For the coldness of death is on them.
I speak of the old women
Who danced to yesterday’s fiddle
And dance no longer.
They sit in a quiet place and dream
And see visions
Of what is to come,
Of their issue,
Which has blossomed to manhood and womanhood —
And seeing thus
They are happy
For the day that was leaves no regrets,
And peace is theirs,