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James Clarence Mangan

(1 May 1803 - 20 June 1849 / Dublin)

Woman of Three Crows


O woman of Three Cows, agra! don’t let your tongue thus rattle!
O, don’t be saucy, don’t be stiff, because you may have cattle.
I have seen - and, here’s my hand to you, I only say what’s true -
A many a one with twice your stock not half so proud as you.

Good luck to you, don’t scorn the poor, and don’t be their despiser,
For worldly wealth soon melts away, and cheats the very miser,
And Death soon strips the proudest wreath from haughty human brows;
Then don’t be stiff, and don’t be proud, good Woman of Three Cows!

See where Momonia’s heroes lie, proud Owen More’s descendants,
’Tis they that won the glorious name, and had the grand attendants!
If they were forced to bow to Fate, as every mortal bows,
Can you be proud, can you be stiff, my Woman of Three Cows!

The brave sons of the Lord of Clare, they left the land to mourning;
Mavrone! for they were banished, with no hope of their returning
Who knows in what abodes of want those youths were driven to house?
Yet you can give yourself these airs, O Woman of Three Cows!

O, think of Donnell of the Ships, the Chief whom nothing daunted
See how he fell in distant Spain, unchronicled, unchanted!

He sleeps, the great O’Sullivan, where thunder cannot rouse -
Then ask yourself, should you be proud, good Woman of Three Cows!

O’Ruark, Maguire, those souls of fire, whose names are shrined in story
Think how their high achievements once made Erin’s highest glory
Yet now their bones lie mouldering under weeds and cypress boughs,
And so, for all your pride, will yours, O Woman of Three Cows!

The O’Carrolls, also, famed when Fame was only for the boldest,
Rest in forgotten sepulchres with Erin’s best and oldest;
Yet who so great as they of yore in battle or carouse?
just think of that, and hide your head, good Woman of Three Cows!

Your neighbour’s poor, and you, it seems, are big with vain ideas,
Because, inagh! you’ve got three cows - one more,! see, than she has.
That tongue of yours wags more at times than Charity allows,
But if you’re strong, be merciful, great Woman of Three Cows!

Now, there you go! You still, of course, keep up your scornful bearing,
And I’m too poor to hinder you; but, by the cloak I’m wearing,
If I had but four cows myself, even though you were my spouse,
I’d thwack you well to cure your pride, my Woman of Three Cows!

Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2012

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