O loudly wailed the winter wind, the driving sleet fell fast,
The ocean billow wildly heaved beneath the bitter blast;
My three fair sons, ere break of day, to fish had left the shore,
The tempest came forth in its wrath—they ne'er returned more.
Cormac, 'neath whose unerring aim the wild duck fell in flight,
The plover of the lonesome hills, the curlew swift as light!
My firstborn child! the flower of youth! the dearest and the best!
O would that thou wert spared to me, though I had lost the rest!
And thou, my handsome Felix! in whose eye so dark and bright
The soul of courage and of wit looked forth in laughing light!
And Daniel, too, my fair-haired boy, the gentle and the brave,
All, all my stately sons were 'whelmed beneath the foaming wave.
Upon the shore, in wild despair, your aged father stood,
And gazed upon his Daniel's corse, too late snatched from the flood!
I saw him pale and lifeless lie, no more to see the light—
And cold, and dumb, and motionless, my heart grew at the sight!
My children, my loved children! do you view my bitter grief?
Look down upon your poor old sire, whose woe knows no relief!
The sunshine of mine eyes is gone, the comfort of my heart;
My life of life, my soul of soul, I've seen from earth depart!
What am I now? an aged man, to earth by sorrow bowed,
I weep within a stranger's home; lone, even in a crowd;
There is no sorrow like to mine, no grief like mine appears,
My once blithe Christmas is weighed down with anguish and with tears.
My sons! my sons! abandoned to the fury of the waves!
Would I could reach the two who lie in ocean's darksome caves;
'Twould bring some comfort to my heart in earth to see them laid,
And hear in Affadown the wild lamentings for them made.
O would that like the gay "Wild Geese" my sons had left this land,
From their poor father in his age, to seek a foreign strand;
Then might I hope the Lord of Heaven in mercy would restore,
My brave and good and stately sons in time to me once more!