A Story Poem by Francis William Lauderdale Adams

A Story

Rating: 2.7

(For the Irish Delegates in Australia)

DO you want to hear a story,
With a nobler praise than 'glory,'
Of a man who loved the right like heaven and loathed the wrong like
Then, that story let me tell you
Once again, though it as well you
Know as I — the splendid story of the man they call Parnell!
By the wayside of the nations,
Lashed with whips and execrations,
Helpless, hopeless, bleeding, dying, she, the Maiden Nation, lay;
And the burthen of dishonour
Weighed so grievously upon her
That her very children hid their eyes and crept in shame away.
And there as she was lying
Helpless, hopeless, bleeding, dying,
All her high-born foes came round her, fleering, jeering, as they said:
'What is freedom fought and won for?
She is down! She's dead and done for!'
And her weeping children shuddered as they crouched and whispered:
Then suddenly up-starting,
All that throng before him parting,
See, a Man with firm step breaking through you central knot that gives;
And, as by some dear lost sister,
He knelt down, and softly kissed her,
And he raised his pale, proud face, and cried: 'She is not dead. She lives!
'O she lives, I say, and I here,
I am come to fight and die here
For the love my heart has for her like a slow consuming fire;
For the love of her low-lying,
For the hatred deep, undying
Of the robber lords who struck and stabbed and trod her in the mire!'
Then upon that cry bewildering,
Some of them, her hapless children —
In their hearts there leaped up hope like light when night gives birth to
And, as mocks and threats defied him,
One by one they came beside him,
Till they stood, a band of heroes, sombre, desperate, at bay!
And the battle that they fought there,
And the bitter truth they taught there
To the blinded Sister-Nation suffering grievously alway,
All the wrong and rapine past hers,
Of her lords and her task-masters,
Is not this the larger hope of all as night gives birth to day?
For the lords and liars are quaking
At the People's stern awaking
From their slumber of the ages; and the Peoples slowly rise,
And with hands locked tight together,
One in heart and soul for ever,
Watch the sun of Light and Liberty leap up into the skies!
That's the story, that's the story
With a nobler praise than 'glory,'
Of the Man who loved the right like heaven and loathed the wrong like
And with calm, proud exultation
Bade her stand at last a nation,
Ireland, Ireland that is one name with the name of Charles Parnell!

Bernard F. Asuncion 07 July 2017

Such a nice nationalistic poem..... Thanks for posting.....

2 6 Reply
Seamus O Brian 07 July 2017

I have not been familiar with Adams' biography nor his work, so I am pleased for the opportunity to acquaint myself via this piece. Certainly a stirring and idealistic work of sweeping nationalism; a glowing tribute to a remarkable, if not controversial, statesman who impacted his time and his nation like few others. This piece is vibrantly alive, moving with a rhyme and cadence that enhance the energy of the theme, rather than detracting from it. A good example to study for those who incorporate rhyming schemes into their work, to allow rhyme to punctuate the communication of the verse, rather than become a distracting or irritating hangnail appendage of construction.

1 0 Reply
James Mclain 07 July 2017

Death to some may appear unkind, unable to seek the middle ground. Blessed to those who go home at night, while they, dremp of first light when were born.. iip

0 1 Reply
Francie Lynch 07 July 2017

I concur with Adams. The English had been on a genocide mission with Ireland for seven hundred years, and still she breathes life. Unfortunately, the Irish didn't treat Parnell that well, which the poem does not address.

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Marieta Maglas 07 July 2017

Being born in Malta, Francis Adams was the son of an army surgeon and novelist Bertha Jane Grundy Adams. As a poet, a novelist, and a commentator, he achieved most contemporary fame with his anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist poetry collection entitled 'Songs of the army of the night', which firstly was published in Sydney in 1888. To Adams, who believed that 'England's soul' had 'shrunk to a skeleton', the choice to live in Australia has been taken because he wanted a free life: 'The people in Australia breathes free … This is a true republic, the truest, as I take it, in the world'. Australian society gave new impetus to the literary endeavors and to the radical sentiments of Adams. ''The hatred that Adams expressed for the English upper class of his day, their hypocrisies and their iniquities, seems to have been transmuted in the colonies into something of an admiration for representatives, at least, of the Australian ruling class. But he did not admire the institutions of this class (his obloquies on colonial education are, for example, splendid examples of unsanctified wrath) , nor did he desert his working-class interests, as his poems testify. Indeed Francis Adams considered his friend William Lane's methods 'demure', though he did not yield to Lane's blandishments to become the 'Laureate of Austral Liberty' on the banks of the Parana. 'I don't propose to cross my strain of lice with the gauchos', Adams told Lane, adding to Sydney Jephcott that, while the demagogue was of the heart of democracy, 'to be a demagogue you must have only one eye'.'' -Adams, Francis William (1862–1893) by S. Murray-Smith. In the poem, 'The Australian Flag', the poet wrote: 'No, but, faithful, noble, Rising from her grave, Flag of light and liberty, For ever must you wave! ' The ideas of death, fight, hope, and liberty make this poem a real message. Voted 10.

2 0 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 07 July 2017

Dishonour! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

1 4 Reply
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