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Poem by Thomas MacDonagh
Barbara: Born 24th March, 1915
You come in the day of destiny, Barbara, born to the air of Mars: The greater glory you shall see And the greater peace, beyond these wars. In other days within this isle, As in a temple, men knew peace; And won the world to peace a while Till rose the pride of Rome and Greece,-- The pride of art, the pride of power, The cruel empire of the mind: Withered the light like a summer flower, And hearts went cold and souls went blind; And, groping, men took other gifts, (God is so good), and thought them the best: But the light lives in the soul that lifts The quiet love above the rest. I have dreamt of you as the Maid of Quiet Entempled in ecstacy of joy, Secure from the madness of blood and the riot Of fame that lures with the glory of Troy,-- Barbara, alien to Athens and Rome, Barbara, free from their pride of wit, Strange to the country of Exile, at home In Eden, by memory and promise of it. And so I have dreamt of your happy state When men go home from Troy and strife, And wait again for the vision, and wait To know the secret of their life. I have dreamt that they will find you there Barbaric, strange, like Seraph or Saint, Innocent of their glory and care, Strong in the wit that their wit makes faint. Yet why should I dream for you, my child? The deed will always out-dare the dream: This garden go the way of wild : These things will change from what they seem; They will change to the glory they knew of old In the old barbaric way of the world That flames again in the hearts that were cold That flings to the winds the flags that were furled. For the old flags wave again, like trees: The forest will come with the timid things That are stronger than the dynasties, As your curls are stronger than iron rings. When the life of the cities of Europe goes The way of Memphis and Babylon, In Ireland still the mystic rose Will shine as it of old has shone. O rose of Grace! O rare wild flower, Whose seeds are sent on the wings of Light! O secret rose, our doom, our dower, Black with the passion of our night; Be bright again in the heart of this child, In peace, in trembling joy made known! Let Exile and Eden be reconciled For her on earth, in wild and sown! Be one, my child, with that which returns As sure as Spring, to the arid earth (When the hearth lies cold the wild fire burns: When the sown lies dead the wild gives birth). Be one with Nature, with that which begins, One with the fruitful power of God: A virtue clean among our sins, 'Mid the stones of our ruin a flowering rod. And, against the Greek, be one with the Gael, One knowledge of God against all human, One sacred gift that shall not fail, One with the Gael against the Roman. So may you go the barbaric way That the earth may be Paradise anew, And Troy from memory pass away, And the pride of wit be naught to you.
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