Denis Florence MacCarthy

Irish poet

Denis Florence MacCarthy (26 May 1817 – 9 April 1882) was an Irish poet, translator, and biographer, from Dublin.

Portrait of Denis Florence McCarthy


  • The pillar towers of Ireland, how wondrously they stand
    By the lakes and rushing rivers through the valleys of our land;
    In mystic file, through the isle, they lift their heads sublime,
    These gray old pillar temples, these conquerors of time!
  • Youth’s bright palace
      Is overthrown,
    With its diamond sceptre
      And golden throne;
      As a time-worn stone
    Its turrets are humbled—
    All hath crumbled
      But grief alone!
    Whither, O whither
      Have fled away
    The dreams and hopes
      Of my early day?
      Ruin’d and grey
    Are the towers I builded;
    And the beams that gilded—
      Ah, where are they?
    Once this world
      Was fresh and bright,
    With its golden noon
      And its starry night:
      Glad and light,
    By mountain and river,
    Have I bless’d the Giver
      With hush’d delight.
    Youth’s illusions
      One by one
    Have pass’d like clouds
      That the sun look’d on.
      While morning shone,
    How purple their fringes!
    How ashy their tinges
      When that was gone!
    As fire-flies fade
      When the nights are damp—
    As meteors are quench’d
      In a stagnant swamp—
      Thus Charlemagne’s camp
    Where the Paladins rally,
    And the Diamond valley,
      And the Wonderful Lamp,
    And all the wonders
      Of Ganges and Nile,
    And Haroun’s rambles,
      And Crusoe’s isle,
      And Princes who smile
    On the Genii’s daughters
    ’Neath the Orient waters
      Full many a mile,
    And all that the pen
      Of Fancy can write
    Must vanish in manhood’s
      Misty light;
      Squire and Knight,
    And damosel’s glances,
    Sunny romances,
      So pure and bright!
    These have vanish’d,
      And what remains?
    Life’s budding garlands
      Have turn’d to chains—
      Its beams and rains
    Feed but docks and thistles,
    And sorrow whistles
      O’er desert plains.
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