-> 2010 -> An old Islay Poem

Dimàirt, 23/Nov/2010

An old Islay Poem

While looking for something slightly related (researching a possible ‘Dear Dear Islay’ song for the Islay Music Links post to be precise) I came across a rather old book on the Internet Archive, The Gaelic bards, and original poems from 1890. It was collated by Thomas Pattison (who was a native of Islay) and edited by the Rev. John George MacNeill. As the title indicates it contains Gaelic poems, with translations into English. There are several Islay related poems in the book, most by Thomas Pattison himself. Here is one of them:


o Islay! sweet Islay !
Thou green, grassy Islay !
Why, why art thou lying
So far o'er the sea ?
O Islay, dear Islay !
The daylight is dying, And here am I longing
And longing for thee !

O Islay ! fair Islay !
Thou dear mother Islay !
Where my spirit, awaking,
First look'd on the day
O Islay ! fair Islay !
That link of God's making
Must last, till I wing me
Away, and away !

Dear Islay, good Islay !
Thou holy-soil'd Islay !
My fathers are sleeping
Beneath thy green sod.
O Islay ! kind Islay !
Well, well be thou keeping
That dear dust awaiting
The great day of God.

Old Islay ! God bless thee,
Thou good mother, Islay !
Bless thy wide ocean !
And bless thy sweet lea !
And Islay, dear Islay !
My heart's best emotion,
For ever and ever
Shall centre in thee !

As far as I understand the book is long out of copyright, so I hope it is OK to republish this poem here (and may be one or two more in the future). I hope you like the poem, as far as I understand it is in praise of mother Islay, the Queen of the Hebrides.

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