Posted in Posts and podcasts

Banshee Lament – 1909

Photo; EO'D
Photo; EO’D

The Banshee is famale fairy attached to ancient Irish houses. Her province is to foretell the near approach of death or disaster to members of the family by mournful wailings or unearthly cadence. Every ruling house had its own supernatural retainer. During centuries of invasion and foreign misrule, families lost titles and estates by confiscation and now their descendants may be found in every land. But through all vicissitudes the Banshee remains faithful to the “ould stock,” and has never transferred her allegiance to the comparatively mushroom conquerors who supplanted the original rulers of the soil.” – Boston Traveler.

O’er Erin’s sea girt isle,
Two thousand leagues away,
The gentle spring wind sighed
One peaceful night in May.

On surf’ lashed northern coast
The waves dashed fast and free,
And ‘cross the meadows came
Salt odors of the sea.

On Ennis Eoghan Head
The grey old castle stands,
Where in dark ages past,
The lord of all those land

The grim old warrior prince –
Ruled stern, yet kind and just;
Ten centuries have passed
Since his body turned to dust.

O’er turret, hall and keep,
The moon shone wierd and bright,
And blazed toward the west
A track of silver light.

The clouds obscured the moon,
And night birds screamed and cried;
The ancient church bell clanged
Across the ebbing tide.

And the Banshee wailed and mourned,
As she pointed to the west,
For a daughter of the race,
Was passing to her rest.

The princess of her people
Lay dying far from home,
Two thousand leagues to westward,
Across the ocean foam.

And the lonely night birds screamed
While the gentle night winds sighed,
And the Banshee moaned and grieved,
In time with the ebbing tide.


Salt Lake City, Utah.
Ed Note – Charles Henry Stevenson, who died in this city last fall, was a native of Ireland. He wrote the “Banshee’s Lament” after the death of his only daughter, a beautiful girl of 20. Several months after his death Mrs Stevenson found the poem among his papers.


B.A., M.A.(Archaeology); Regional Tour Guide; Dip. Radio Media Tech; H.Dip. Computer Science.

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