Queen Gormlai

NOT fingers that e'er felt
Fine things within their hold
Drew needles in and through,
And smoothed out the fold,
And put the hodden patch
Upon the patch of grey
Unseemly is the garb
That's for my back to-day!

O skinflint woman, Mor,
Who knows that I speak true
I had women once,
A queen's retinue;
And they were ones who knew
The raiment of a queen;
Their thoughts were on my tire,
Their minds were on my mien!

Light of hand and apt,
And companionable,
Seven score women, Mor,
I had at my call,
Who am to-day begrudged
The blink of candle-light
To put it on, the garb,
That leaves me misbedight.

I wore a blue Norse hood
The time I watched the turns
And feats of Clann O'Neill
We quaffed from goblet-horns;
A crimson cloak I wore
When, with Niall the King,
I watched the horses race
At Limerick in the Spring!

In Tara of King Niall
The gold was round the wine,
And I was given the cup
A furze-bright dress was mine;
And now this clout to wear
Where I rise to sup whey,
With root-like stitches through
The hodden on the grey!

No more upon the board
Candles for kings are lit,
No more can I bid her
And her bring gowning fit;
The bramble is no friend
It pulls at me and drags;
The thorny ground is mine
Where briars tear my rags!

by Padraic Colum

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