A Call on Sir Walter Raleigh: At Youghal, Ireland

“ AY, not at home, then, didst thou say ?
And, prithee, hath he gone to court ? ”
“ Nay ; he hath sailed but yesterday,
With Edmund Spenser, from this port.
“ This Spenser, folk do say, hath writ
Twelve cantos called The Faerie Queene :
To seek for one to publish it
They go, — on a long voyage, I ween.”
Ah me! I came so far to see
This ruffed and plumèd cavalier,—
He whom romance and history,
Alike, to all the world make dear.
Great Shakespeare’s friend — the more than peer
Of Philip Sidney, whose bright head,
Crowned with one golden deed, we hear,
Dropped, young, upon an honored bed.
And I had some strange things to tell
Of our new world, where he hath been ;
And now they say, — I marked them well,—
They say the blaster is not in !
The knaves speak not the truth ; I see
Sir Walter at the window there.
That is the hat, the sword, which he
In pictures hath been eased to wear;
There hangs the very cloak whereon
Elizabeth set foot. (But oh,
Young diplomat, as things have gone,
Pity it is she soiled it so !)
And there—but look! He’s lost in smoke.
(That weirdly charmed Virginia weed !)
Make haste ! bring anything ! his cloak —
They save him with a shower, indeed !
. . . Ay, lost in smoke ! I linger where
He walked his garden. Day is dim,
And death-sweet scents rise to the air
From flowers that gave their breath to him.
There, with its thousand years of tombs,
The dark church glimmers where he prayed ; 1
Here, with his head unshorn of plumes,
The tree he planted gave him shade.
His head unshorn of plumes ? Even so
It stained the Tower, when gray with grief.
O tree he planted, as I go,
For him I tenderly take a leaf.
I have been dreaming here, they say,
Of one dead knight, forgot at court;
And yet he sailed but yesterday,
With Edmund Spenser, from this port.
Sallie M. B. Piatt.
  1. St. Mary’s Church, one of the most ancient and interesting, from an historical point of view, among Irish churches, almost adjoins the house known as Sir Walter Raleigh’s, at Youghal.