She promised to prize it all the more on that account. And now, when I look at that little Japanese basket, my mind wanders back to the farthing’s worth of pins I purchased in my old bachelor days.
SHAMUS O’BRIEN: A TALE OF ’98.
BY J. SHERIDAN LE FANU.
Jist afther the war, in the year
As soon as the boys wor all scattered and bate,
’Twas the custom, whenever a pisant was got,
To hang him by thrial—barrin’ sich as was shot.—
There was trial by jury goin’ on in the light,
And martial-law hangin’ the lavins by night
It’s them was hard times for an honest gossoon:
If he got past the judges—he’d meet a dragoon;
An’ whether the sodgers or judges gev sintance,
The divil an hour they gev for repintance.
An’ it’s many’s the boy that was then on his keepin’,
Wid small share iv restin’, or atin’, or sleepin’;
An’ because they loved Erin, an’ scorned for to sell it,
A prey for the bloodhound, a mark for the bullet—
Unsheltered by night, and unrested by day,
With the heath for their barrack, revenge for their pay.
The bravest an’ hardiest boy
iv them all,
Was Shamus O’Brien, o’ the town iv Glingall.
His limbs were well-set, an’ his body was light,
An’ the keen-fanged hound had not teeth half so white.
But his face was as pale as the face of the dead,
And his cheeks never warmed with the blush of the red;
But for all that he wasn’t an ugly young bye,
For the divil himself couldn’t blaze with his eye,
So droll an’ so wicked, so dark and so bright,
Like a fire-flash crossing the depth of the night;
He was the best mower that ever was seen,
The handsomest hurler that ever has been.
An’ his dancin’ was sich that the men used to stare,
An’ the women turn crazy, he done it so quare;
Be gorra, the whole world gev in to him there.