Murtagh The Cobbler
The harvest moon was shinin’
by Alice Guerin Crist
As Murtagh came from the fair,
And Oh! The scent of the new-mown hay
And the gorsebloom in the air.
The night wind lifted his shock of hair
With whisperings weird and low,
And sang in his lonely, aching heart
Till he could not choose but go.
Aside from the dusky highway
Down a haunted old boreen
To where a strange light flickered
In under the hollies green--
All night he spent in that fairy dell,
Till the red dawn stained the sky;
And he sold his soul to the fairy folk
For the gift of the seeing eye.
Now he dwells in the mountain cabin,
Silent and unafraid,
The cabin his Father left him,
With the tools of his cobbler’s trade.
He has no hope of Heaven,
He has no fear of Hell,
But he shrinks with a passing shiver
At the sound of the chapel bell.
Th stern young priest came storming,
Ah! ‘tis bitter and cross was he,
But Murtagh gazed with clouded eyes
At the far-off shining sea.
And the wise old priest came pleading
With his understanding eyes;
Ah! Non can know the heart of a man
Like a priest grown old and wise.
But the bitter word and the kind word
Went by on the whispering wind,
For Murtagh’s eyes were seeing
Things hid from all human kind.
Below at the village fireside
By the flickering turf-fires flame,
Prays a little blue-eyes girsha
Sickly and frail and lame.
Till the smoky air around her
Is vibrant with angels’ wings,
For the heart of the child is near to God
And akin to holy things.
She prays and prays for Murtagh,
Who has been her friend for so long,
Who fashioned her crutch of mountain ash
And cheered her with smile and song.
And I know that the Lord of Mercy
Will hark to her cry of pain;
And turn his steps from the erring path
And give Murtagh his soul again.