Poem of a Political Prisoner

Patrick Pearse: The Mother

I do not grudge them: Lord, I do not grudge
My two strong sons that I have seen go out
To break their strength and die, they and a few,
In bloody protest for a glorious thing,
They shall be spoken of among their people,
The generations shall remember them,
And call them blessed;
But I will speak their names to my own heart
In the long nights;
The little names that were familiar once
Round my dead hearth.
Lord, thou art hard on mothers:
We suffer in their coming and their going;
And tho’ I grudge them not, I weary, weary
Of the long sorrow – And yet I have my joy:
My sons were faithful, and they fought.


Patrick Pearse, the son of an Irish mother and an English father is born at 27 Gt. Brunswick St. in 1879, (now Pearse St.) in Dublin and educated at the Christian Brothers’ School. He graduates from the Royal University and becomes a barrister, and is an enthusiastic student of the Irish language. He becomes a writer in both English and Gaelic. Patrick Pearse envisions a free Gaelic Ireland and founds St. Enda’s College.

After visiting the United States, he joins the Irish Volunteers and is commander-in-chief of the Irish rebel forces in the Easter Rebellion of 1916. He realises the rebellion is hopeless and orders the volunteers to surrender. He is arrested with other leaders and, together with his brother, shot. This is his last poem, written while awaiting execution.


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