CELT document E901001

The Cry of the Curlews

Patrick Augustine Sheehan

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    The Cry of the Curlews

  1. A lonely whitewashed cottage
    Under a sandy cliff;
    I, a child, and my cradle
    The thwarts of the fisher's skiff.
    Dark was the night without,
    The winds swept over the lea
    The cry of the curlews calling,
    And the weary wash of the sea.
  2. Sea-swallows nested above us
    Silent; but all night long
    Sleepless the cold waves gathered.
    Pouring to night their song.
    They sang alone in the darkness,
    Like hooded monks in choir,
    And the long, lone beach was lighted
    With flames of the white sea-fire.
  3. I heard the fret of the shingle
    Teased by the wanton wave,
    And the deep, low boom of the thunder
    In the dripping ocean-cave.
    But I heeded not fret nor thunder,
    Nor the crack of the wild wind's whips,
    For the mother's face bent o'er me,
    And the warmth of a sister's lips.
  4. Years have sped since my childhood,
    And all the visions of yore
    Passed like the spirits of dreamland
    Haunting a ghostly shore.
    Yet in the night or twilight
    Cometh a sound to me
    The cry of the curlews calling,
    And the weary wash of the sea.
  5.  p.288
  6. Yestreen I watched in my manhood
    There where the cottage stood,
    Under the nests of the swallows
    Beside the ocean flood.
    Gone is the whitewashed cabin,
    And the fisher's humble skiff,
    And a low mound, weedy and grass-grown,
    Is all of the stately cliff.
  7. And there in the twilight of fancy
    Did I trace my love's eclipse,
    The vision that bent above me,
    The thrill of a sister's lips.
    God! Thou art just, and somewhere
    In Thy myriad mansions blest,
    Mother and sister are watching
    The face they once caressed.
  8. For death is only a shadow
    Cast by Thy holy love,
    As the nest of her young is darkened
    By the wings of the hov'ring dove.
    Swifter and swifter downwards
    Thy Spirit swoops to us,
    Couched in the warmth of His shadow,
    Winged multitudinous.
  9. Yestreen I watched in my manhood,
    To-day my hair is white;
    I hear the eternal surges
    Beat in the nearing night.
    But even in Heaven I'll summon
    From the cells of memory
    The cry of the curlews calling,
    And the weary wash of the sea.
  10. P. A. SHEEHAN.

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Title (uniform): The Cry of the Curlews

Author: Patrick Augustine Sheehan

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Electronic edition compiled by: Benjamin Hazard

Funded by: School of History, University College, Cork

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1. First draft

Extent: 845 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland — http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2013

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E901001

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description


  • In private possession, Noel Scannell.

Canon Sheehan on the Internet

  • http://www.canonsheehanremembered.com.


  1. Canon P.A. Sheehan, 'The Cry of the Curlews,' The Irish Monthly, 29 (June 1901) 287–288.
  2. Canon P.A. Sheehan, Literary life. Essays and Poems (Dublin 1921), [Poems] 48–49.

Further reading

  1. James O'Brien (ed.), The Collected Letters of Canon Sheehan of Doneraile, 1883–1913 (Wells 2013).
  2. James O'Brien, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile 1852–1913: Outlines for Literary Biography (Wells 2013).

The edition used in the digital edition

‘The Cry of the Curlews’. In: The Irish Monthly: A Magazine of General Literature‍. Ed. by Matthew Russell SJ, pp. 287–288.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  editor 	 = {},
  title 	 = {The Cry of the Curlews},
  journal 	 = {The Irish Monthly: A Magazine of General Literature},
  editor 	 = {Matthew Russell SJ},
  address 	 = {Dublin},
  publisher 	 = {Irish Jesuit Province},
  date 	 = {June 1901},
  pages 	 = {287–288}


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Creation: By Patrick Augustine Sheehan (1852–1913)

Date: 1901

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  • The text is in English. (en)

Keywords: poetry; 20c; nature

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(Most recent first)

  1. 2013-05-30: File checked and validated; SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2013-05-29: Header created; structural mark-up added. (ed. Benjamin Hazard)
  3. 2013-05-13: Bibliographical details compiled. (ed. Benjamin Hazard)
  4. 2013-05-13: Text of captured. (file capture Benjamin Hazard)

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