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An Irish Face

 NOT her own sorrow only that hath place
Upon yon gentle face.
Too slight have been her childhood’s years to gain The imprint of such pain.
It hid behind her laughing hours, and wrought Each curve in saddest thought On brow and lips and eyes.
With subtle art It made that little heart Through its young joyous beatings to prepare A quiet shelter there, Where the immortal sorrows might find a home.
And many there have come; Bowed in a mournful mist of golden hair Deirdre hath entered there.
And shrouded in a fall of pitying dew, Weeping the friend he slew, The Hound of Ulla lies, with those who shed Tears for the Wild Geese fled.
And all the lovers on whom fate had warred Cutting the silver cord Enter, and softly breath by breath they mould The young heart to the old, The old protest, the old pity, whose power Are gathering to the hour When their knit silence shall be mightier far Than leagued empires are.
And dreaming of the sorrow on this face We grow of lordlier race, Could shake the rooted rampart of the hills To shield her from all ills, And through a deep adoring pity won Grow what we dream upon.

Poem by George William Russell
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