Francis Ledwidge

(19 August 1887 – 31 July 1917 / Janeville, Slane)

Soliloquy Poem by Francis Ledwidge


When I was young I had a care
Lest I should cheat me of my share
Of that which makes it sweet to strive
For life, and dying still survive,
A name in sunshine written higher
Than lark or poet dare aspire.

But I grew weary doing well.
Besides, 'twas sweeter in that hell,
Down with the loud banditti people
Who robbed the orchards, climbed the steeple
For jackdaws' eyes and made the cock
Crow ere 'twas daylight on the clock.
I was so very bad the neighbours
Spoke of me at their daily labours.

And now I'm drinking wine in France,
The helpless child of circumstance.
To-morrow will be loud with war,
How will I be accounted for?

It is too late now to retrieve
A fallen dream, too late to grieve
A name unmade, but not too late
To thank the gods for what is great;
A keen-edged sword, a soldier's heart,
Is greater than a poet's art.
And greater than a poet's fame
A little grave that has no name.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Comments about this poem (Soliloquy by Francis Ledwidge )

  • Rookie Jo Jesnon (6/4/2009 3:53:00 PM)

    Yet again the last line is missing... that is just such a shame cos the whole poem gets ruined! ! ! !

    Last line:

    Whence honour turns away in shame.

    The British took away the last line to use the poem as propaganda. Shame on them! (Report) Reply

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