Wednesday, March 17, 2010
From the Book ¨Legends of Saint Patrick¨
Image of St. Patrick, from Google images
Author : Aubrey de Vere. Published by Mc Glashan and Hill, Dublín, 1872
In most parts of Ireland the traveler hears quaint stories about Saint Patrick, and sometimes perhaps imagines that the Saint visited the island for the benefit of witty guides, and to promote mirth in wet weather. He would hardly suspect that, during fourteen centuries, the subject of these stories has been regarded, at countless heaths, as the greatest man and the greatest benefactor that ever trod the Irish soil; and that there remains respecting him a vast cycle of legends, serious, pathetic, and profound. It could not have been otherwise. Ireland was a land of legends many ages before Saint Patrick visited it.
To this class of legends belong the poems respecting Saint Patrick and the old Irish warrior poet, Osin, with whom the modern reader is better acquainted under the name of Ossian.
The Baptism of St. Patrick.
¨How can the babe baptized be
Where font is none, and water none?¨
Thus wept the nurse on bended knee,
And swayed the Infant in the sun.
The blind priest took that Infant´s hand:
With that small hand, above the ground
He signed the Cross. At God´s command
A fountain rose with brimming bound.
In that pure wave, from Adam´s sin
The blind priest cleansed the Babe with awe;
Then, reverently, he washed therein
His old, unseeing face and saw!
He saw the earth; he saw the skies,
And that all-wondrous Child decreed
A pagan nation to baptize,
And give the Gentiles light indeed.
Thus Secknall sang. Far off and nigh
The clansmen shouted loud and long;
While every mother tossed more high
Her babe, and, glorying, joined the song.