Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Background details and bibliographic information
Author: Samuel Ferguson
Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by Beatrix Färber, Seán Pilcher
Funded by School of History, University College, Cork
1. First draft.
Extent of text: 2010 words
CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork
College Road, Cork, Irelandhttp://www.ucc.ie/celt (2014)
Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: E860001-002
The works by Sir Samuel Ferguson are in the public domain. This electronic text is available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of private or academic research and teaching.
This poem was first published in the volume Lays of the Western Gael in 1864 (Peter Denman, states p. 73, 'it came off the press in the latter part of 1864').
Life and Work of Sir Samuel Ferguson
- Mary Catherine Guinness Ferguson, Sir Samuel Ferguson in the Ireland of his Day (Edinburgh/London 1896).
- Arthur Deering, Sir Samuel Ferguson, Poet and Antiquarian (Philadelphia 1931).
- Malcolm Brown, Sir Samuel Ferguson (Lewisburg) 1973.
- Robert O'Driscoll, An ascendancy of the heart: Ferguson and the beginnings of modern Irish literature in English (Dublin 1976).
- Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish and Fíor-Ghael: Studies in the idea of Irish nationality, its development and literay expression prior to the nineteenth century (Amsterdam/Philadelphia 1986).
- Terence Brown and Barbara Hayley (eds), Samuel Ferguson: a centenary tribute (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy 1987).
- Maurice Harmon, The Enigma of Samuel Ferguson, in: O. Komesu, M. Sekine (eds), Irish writers and politics (Irish Literary Studies 36) (Gerrards Cross 1989) 6279.
- Peter Denman, Samuel Ferguson: the literary achievement (Gerrards Cross, Bucks. 1990).
- Eve Patten, 'Samuel Ferguson: a tourist in Antrim', in: Gerald Dawe and John Wilson Foster, (eds), The poet's place: Ulster literature and society: essays in honour of John Hewitt, 190787 (Belfast: Queen's University of Belfast, Institute of Irish Studies, 1991).
- Gréagóir Ó Dúill, Samuel Ferguson: Beatha agus Saothar (Baile Átha Cliath [=Dublin] 1993.
- Gréagóir Ó Dúill, Sir Samuel Ferguson (18101886), in: Eamon Phoenix (ed), A century of northern life: The Irish News and 100 years of Ulster history, 1890s1990s (Belfast 1995) 182186.
- Sean Ryder, 'The politics of landscape and region in nineteenth-century poetry', in: Leon Litvack, Glenn Hooper (eds), Ireland in the nineteenth century: regional identity (Dublin 2000).
- Eve Patten, Samuel Ferguson and the culture of nineteenth-century Ireland (Dublin 2004).
- Peter Denman, William Carleton and Samuel Ferguson: lives and contacts, in: Gordon Brand (ed), William Carleton, the authentic voice (Gerard's Cross 2006) 360377.
- Eve Patten, Samuel Ferguson's Hibernian Nights' Entertainments, in: James H. Murphy (ed), The Irish book in English, 18001891. The Oxford History of the Irish Book, 4 (Oxford: 2011).
- Matthew Campbell, 'Samuel Ferguson's Maudlin Jumble', in: Kirstie Blair, Mina Gorji (eds), Class and the canon: constructing labouring-class poetry and poetics, 17801900 (Basingstoke 2013).
- Poems of Sir Samuel Ferguson are available on www.archive.org.
The edition used in the digital edition
- Samuel Ferguson Aideen's Grave in , Ed. Alfred Perceval Graves Poems of Sir Samuel Ferguson. Talbot Press, Dublin, (1918) pages 612
CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts
The whole poem.
The text has been proof-read twice.
The electronic text represents the edited text.
The editorial practice of the hard-copy editor has been retained.
div0= the individual poem, quatrains are marked lg.
Names of persons (given names), and places are not tagged. Terms for cultural and social roles are not tagged.
Created: Date range: 18581864.
Use of language
Language: [EN] The poem is in English.
Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: E860001-002
Aideen's Grave: Author: Samuel Ferguson
[Aideen, daughter of Angus of Ben-Edar (now the Hill of Howth), died of grief for the loss of her husband, Oscar, son of Ossian, who was slain at the battle of Gavra (Gowra, near Tara in Meath), A.D. 284. Oscar was entombed in the rath or earthen fortress that occupied part of the field of battle, the rest of the slain being cast in a pit outside. Aideen is said to have buried on Howth, near the mansion of her father, and poetical tradition represents the Fenian heroes as present at her obsequies. The Cromlech in Howth Park has been supposed to be her sepulchre. It stands under the summits from which the poet Atharne is said to have launched his invectives against the people of Leinster, until, by the blighting effect of his satires, they were compelled to make him atonement for the death of his son.]
- They heaved the stone; they heap'd the cairn:
Said Ossian "In a queenly grave
We leave her, 'mong her fields of fern
Between the cliff and wave.
- "The cliff behind stands clear and bare,
And bare, above, the heathery steep
Scales the clear heaven's expanse, to where
The Danaan Druids sleep.
- "And all the sands that, left and right,
The grassy isthmus-ridge confine,
in yellow bars le bared and bright
Among the sparkling brine.
- "A clear pure air pervades the scene,
In loneliness and awe secure;
Meet spot to sepulchre a Queen
Who in her life was pure.
- "Here, far from camp and chase removed,
Apart in Nature's quiet room,
The music that alive she loved
Shall cheer her in the tomb.
- "The humming of the noontide bees,
The lark's loud carol all day long,
And, borne on evening's salted breeze,
The clanking sea bird's song
- "Shall round her airy chamber float,
And with the whispering winds and steams
Attune to Nature's tenderest note
The tenor of her dreams.
- "And oft, at tranquil eve's decline
When full tides lip the Old Green Plain,
The lowing of Moynalty's kine
Shall round her breathe again,
- "In sweet remembrance of the days
When, duteous, in the lowly vale
Unconscious of my Oscar's gale,
She fill'd the fragrant pail,
- "And, duteous, from the running brook
Drew water for the bath; nor deem'd
A king did on her labour look,
And she a fairy seem'd.
- "But when the wintry frosts begin,
And in their long-drawn, lofty flight,
The wild geese with their airy din
Distend the ear of night,
- "And whne the fierce De Danaan ghosts
At midnight from their peak come down,
When all around the enchanted coasts
Despairing strangers drown;
- "When, mingling with the wreckful wail,
From low Clontarf's wave-trampled floor
Comes booming up the burthen'd gale
The angry Sand-Bull's roar;
- "Or, angrier than the sea, the shout
Of Erin's hosts in wrath combined,
When Terror heads Oppression's rout,
And Freedom cheers behind:
- "Then o'er our lady's placid dream,
Where safe from storms she sleeps, may steal
Such jo as will not misbeseem
A Queen of men to feel:
- "Such thrill of free, defiant pride,
As rapt her in her battle car
At Gavra, when by Oscar's side
She rode the ridge of war,
- "Exulting, down the shouting troops,
And through the thick confronting kings,
With hands on all their javelin loops
And shafts on all their strings;
- "E'er closed the inseparable crowds,
No more to part for me, and show,
As bursts the sun through scattering clouds,
My Oscar issuing so.
- "No more, dispelling battle's gloom
Shall son for me from fight return;
The great green rath's ten-acred tomb
Lies heavy on his urn.
- "A cup of bodkin-pencill'd clay
Holds Oscar; mighty heart and limb
One handful now of ashes grey:
And she has died for him.
- "And here, hard by her natal bower
On lone Ben Edar's side, we strive
With lifted rock and sign of power
To keep her name alive.
- "That while, from circling year to year,
Her Ogham-letter'd stone is seen,
The Gael shall say, 'Our Fenians here
Entomb's their loved Aideen.'
- "The Ogham from her pillar stone
In tract of time will wear away;
Her name at last be only know
In Ossian's echo'd lay.
- "The long forgotten lay I sing
May only ages hence revive,
(As eagle with a wounded wing
To soar again might strive,)
- "Imperfect, in an alien speech,
When, wandering here, some child of chance
Through pangs of keen delight shall reach
The gift of utterance,
- "To speak the air, the sky to speak,
The freshness of the hill to tell,
Who, roaming bare Ben Edar's peak
And Aideen's briary dell,
- "And gazing on the Cromlech vast,
And on the mountain and the sea,
Shall catch communion with the past
And mix himself with me.
- "Child of the Future's doubtful night,
Wate'er your speech, whoe'r your sires,
Sing while you may with frank delight
The song your house inspires.
- "Sing while you may, nor grieve to know
The song you sing shall also die;
Atharna's lay has perish'd so,
Though once it thrill'd this sky.
- "Above us, from his rocky chair,
There, where Ben Edar's landward crest
O'er eastern Bregia bends, to where
Dun Almon crowns the west:
- "And all that felt the fretted air
Throughout the song-distemper'd clime,
Did droop, till suppliant Leinster's prayer
Appeased the vengeful rhyme.
- "Ah me, or e'er the hour arrive
Shall bid my long-forgotten tones,
Unknown One, on your lips revive,
Here, by these moss-grown stones,
- "What change shall o'er the scene have cross'd;
What conquering lords anew have come;
What lore-arm'd, mightier Druid host
From Gaul or distant Rome!
- "What arts of death, what ways of life,
What creeds unknown to bard or seer,
Shall round your careless steps be rife,
Who pause and ponder here;
- "And, haply, where yon curlew calls
Athwart the marsh, 'mid groves and bowers
See rise some mighty chieftain's halls
With unimagined towers:
- "And baying hounds, and coursers bright,
And burnish'd cars of dazzling sheen,
With courtly train of dame and knight,
Where now the fern is green.
- "Or, by yon prostrate altar-stone
May kneel, perchance, and, free from blame,
Hear holy men with rites unknown
New names of God proclaim.
- "Let change as may the Name of Awe,
Let rite surcease and altar fall,
The same One God remains, a law
For ever and for all.
- "Let change as may the face of earth,
Let alter all the social frame,
For mortal men the ways of birth
And death are still the same.
- "And still, as life and time wear on,
The children of the waning days,
(Though strength be from their shoulders gone
To lift the loads we raise,)
- "Shall weep to do the burial rites
Of lost ones loved; and fondly found,
In shadow of the gathering nights,
The monumental mound.
- "Farewell! The strength of men is worn;
The night approaches dark and chill:
Sleep, till perchance an endless morn
Descend the glittering hill."
- Of Oscar and Aideen bereft,
So Ossian sang. The Fenians sped
Three mighty shouts to heaven; and left
Ben Edar to the dead.