John Boyle O'Reilly

(28 June 1844 - 10 August 1890 / Dowth Castle, County Meath)

A Dead Man - Poem by John Boyle O'Reilly

Trapper died—our hero—and we grieved;
In every heart in camp the sorrow stirred.
'His soul was red!' the Indian cried, bereaved;
'A white man, he!' the grim old Yankee's word.

So, brief and strong, each mourner gave his best—
How kind he was, how brave, how keen to track;
And as we laid him by the pines to rest,
A negro spoke, with tears: 'His heart was black!'

''Island of Destiny! Innisfail! for thy faith is the payment near!
The mine of the future is opened, and the golden veins appear.
Thy hands are white and thy page unstained. Reach out for thy glorious years,
And take them from God as his recompense for thy fortitude and tears.'

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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 21, 2012

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