THE POETRY OF
ME THREE GRAINS OF CORN, MOTHER."
By Amelia Blanford Edwards
Give me three grains of corn, Mother,
Only three grains of corn;
It will keep the little life I have
Till the coming of the morn
I am dying of hunger and cold, Mother,
Dying of hunger and cold;
And half the agony of such a death
My lips have never told
It has gnawed like a wolf at my heart, Mother,
A wolf that is fierce for blood;
All the livelong day, and the night beside,
Gnawing for lack of food
I dreamed of bread in my sleep, Mother,
And the sight was heaven to see;
I awoke with an eager, famishing lip,
But you had no bread for me
How could I look to you, Mother,
How could I look to you
For bread to give to your starving boy,
When you were starving too?
For I read the famine in your cheek,
And in your eyes so wild,
And I felt it in your bony hand,
As you laid it on your child
The Queen has lands and gold, Mother,
The Queen has lands and gold,
While you are forced to your empty breast
A skeleton babe to hold
A babe that is dying of want, Mother,
As I am dying now,
With a ghastly look in its sunken eye,
And famine upon its brow
There is many a brave heart here, Mother,
Dying of want and cold,
While only across the Channel, Mother,
Are many that roll in gold;
There are rich and proud men there, Mother,
With wondrous wealth to view,
And the bread they fling to their dogs tonight
Would give life to me and you.
What has poor Ireland done, Mother,
What has poor Ireland done,
That the world looks on, and sees us starve,
Perishing one by one?
Do the men of England care not, Mother,
The great men and the high,
For the suffering sons of Erin's Isle,
Whether they live or die?
Come nearer to my side, Mother,
Come nearer to my side,
And hold me fondly, as you held
My father when he died;
Quick, for I cannot see you, Mother,
My breath is almost gone;
Mother! Dear Mother! Ere I die,
Give me three grains of corn.
By John O'Hagan
Take it from us, every grain,
We were made for you to drain;
Black starvation let us feel,
England must not want a meal!
When our rotting roots shall fail,
When the hunger pangs assail,
Ye'll have of Irish corn your fill --
We'll have grass and nettles still!
We are poor, and ye are rich;
Mind it not, were every ditch
Strewn in spring with famished corpses,
Take our oats to feed your horses!
Heaven, that tempers ill with good,
When it smote our wonted food,
Sent us bounteous growth of grain --
Sent to pauper slaves, in vain!
We but asked in deadly need:
'Ye that rule us! Let us feed
On the food that's ours' ~ behold!
Adder deaf and icy cold.
Were we Russians, thralls from birth,
In a time of winter dearth
Would a Russian despot see
From his land its produce flee?
Were we black Virginian slaves,
Bound and bruised with thongs and staves,
Avarice and selfish dread
Would not let us die unfed.
Were we, Saints of Heaven! were we
How we burn to think it -- FREE!
Not a grain should leave our shore,
Not for England's golden store.
They who hunger where it grew --
They whom Heaven had sent it to --
They who reared with sweat of brow --
They or none should have it now.
Lord that made us! What it is
To endure a lot like this!
Powerless in our worst distress,
Cramped by alien selfishness!
Not amongst our rulers all,
One true heart whereon to call;
Vainly still we turn to them
Who despoil us and contemn.
Forced to see them, day by day,
Snatch our sole resource away;
If returned a pittance be --
Alms, 'tis named, and beggars, we.
Lord! thy guiding wisdom grant,
Fearful counselor is WANT;
Burning thoughts will rise within,
Keep us pure from stain of sin!
But, at least, like trumpet blast,
Let it rouse us all at last;
Ye who cling to England's side!
Here and now, you see her tried.
men, what reap ye? -- Golden corn for the stranger.