For the Moore Centennial Celebration
By Oliver Wendell Holmes
May 28, 1879
ENCHANTER of Erin, whose magic has bound us,
Thy wand for one moment we fondly would claim,
Entranced while it summons the phantoms around us
That blush into life at the sound of thy name.
The tell-tales of memory wake from their slumbers,--
I hear the old song with its tender refrain,
What passion lies hid in those honey-voiced numbers!
What perfume of youth in each exquisite strain!
The home ot my childhood comes back as a vision,--
Hark! Hark! A soft chord from its song~haunted room,--
'T is a morning of May, when the air is Elysian,--
The syringa in bud and the lilac in bloom,--
We are clustered around the "Clementi" piano,--
There were six of us then,-- there are two of us now,--
She is singing-- the girl with the silver soprano--
How "The Lord of the Valley" was false to his vow;
"Let Erin remember" the echoes are calling;
Through "The Vale of Avoca" the waters are rolled;
"The Exile" laments while the night~dews are falling;
"The Morning of Life" dawns again as of old.
But ah! those warm love-songs of fresh adolescence!
Around us such raptures celestial they flung
That it seemed as if Paradise breathed its quintessence
Through the seraph-toned lips of the maiden that sung!
Long hushed are the chords that my boyhood enchanted
As when the smooth wave by the angel was stirred,
Yet still with their music is memory haunted,
And oft in my dreams are their melodies heard.
I feel like the priest to his altar returning,--
The crowd that was kneeling no longer is there,
The flame has died down, but the brands are still burning,
And sandal and cinnamon sweeten the air.
The veil for her bridal young Summer is weaving
In her azure-domed hall with its tapestried floor,
And Spring the last tear-drop of May-dew is leaving
On the daisy of Burns and the shamrock of Moore.
How like, how unlike, as we view them together,
The song of the minstrels whose record we scan,--
One fresh as the breeze blowing over the heather,
One sweet as the breath from an odalisque's fan!
Ah, passion can glow mid a palace's splendor;
The cage does not alter the song of ths bird;
And the curtain of silk has known whispers as tender
As ever the blossoming hawthorn has heard.
No fear lest the step of the soft-slippered Graces
Should fright the young Loves from their warm little nest,
For the heart of a queen, under jewels and laces,
Beats time with the pulse in the peasant girl's breast!
Thrice welcome each gift of kind Nature's bestowing!
Her fountain heeds little the goblet we hold;
Alike, when its musical waters are flowing,
The shell from the seaside, the chalice of gold.
The twins of the lyre to her voices had listened;
Both laid their best gifts upon Liberty's shrine;
For Coila's loved minstrel the holly~wreath glistened;
For Erin's the rose and the myrtle entwine.
And while the fresh blossoms of summer are braided
For the sea-girdled, stream-silvered, lake-jewelled isle,
While her mantle of verdure is woven unfaded,
While Shannon and Liffey shall dimple and smile,
The land where the staff of Saint Patrick was planted,
Where the shamrock grows green from the cliffs to the shore,
The land of fair maidens and heroes undaunted,
Shall wreathe her bright harp with the garlands of Moore!