AN APPEAL POEM by Adelaide Anne Procter

Poetry from A Chaplet of Verses.

Adelaide Anne Procter


‘The Irish Church Mission for Converting the Catholics.’

SPARE her, O cruel England!
Thy Sister lieth low;
Chained and oppressed she lieth,
Spare her that cruel blow.
We ask not for the freedom
Heaven has vouchsafed to thee,
Nor bid thee share with Ireland
The empire of the sea;

Her children ask no shelter—
Leave them the stormy sky;
They ask not for thy harvests,
For they know how to die;
Deny them, if it please thee,
A grave beneath the sod—
But we do cry, O England,
Leave them their faith in God!
Take, if thou wilt, the earnings
Of the poor peasant’s toil,
Take all the scanty produce
That grows on Irish soil,
To pay the alien preachers
Whom Ireland will not hear,
To pay the scoffers at a Creed
Which Irish hearts hold dear:
But leave them, cruel England,
The gift their God has given,
Leave them their ancient worship,
Leave them their faith in Heaven.

You come and offer Learning—
A mighty gift, ’tis true;
Perchance the greatest blessing
That now is known to you—
But not to see the wonders
Sages of old beheld,
Can they peril a priceless treasure,
The Faith their Fathers held;
For in learning and in science
They may forget to pray
God will not ask for knowledge
On the great judgement day.
When, in their wretched cabins,
Racked by the fever pain,
And the weak cries of their children
Who ask for food in vain;
When starving, naked, helpless,
From the shed that keeps them warm
Man has driven them forth to perish,
In a less cruel form;

Then, then, we plead for mercy,
Then, Sister, hear our cry!
For all we ask, O England,
Is—leave them there to die!
Cursed is the food and raiment
For which a soul is sold;
Tempt not another Judas
To barter God for gold.
You offer food and shelter
If they their faith deny:
What do you gain, O England,
By such a shallow lie? . . .
We will not judge the tempted,
May God blot out their shame,
He sees the misery round them,
He knows man’s feeble frame;
His pity still may save them,
In His strength they must trust
Who calls us all His children,
Yet knows we are but dust.

Then leave them the kind tending
Which helped their childish years;
Leave them the gracious comfort
Which dries the mourner’s tears;
Leave them to that great mother
In whose bosom they were born;
Leave them the holy mysteries
That comfort the forlorn
And, amid all their trials,
Let the Great Gift abide,
Which you, O prosperous England,
Have dared to cast aside.
Leave them the pitying Angels,
And Mary’s gentle aid,
For which earth’s dearest treasures
Were not too dearly paid.
Take back your bribes, then, England,
Your gold is black and dim,
And if God sends plague and famine
They can die and go to Him.

Adelaide Anne Procter – A Chaplet of Verses

A Chaplet of Verses by Adelaide Anne Procter