SLEMISH

SLEMISH
(A REVISED VERSION)

Hail! Slemish! Grand and lofty mountain,
The source of many a lake and fountain,
Where Patrick watched his hogs and sheep,
And from thy summit often leaped;
Yes! Leaped instead of walking down,
Right into Ballymena town.

In these old days that long have fled,
Thy heights were all a flower-bed,
And pastures green, where cows might thrive,
With food for everything alive.
Where Milcho milked his wild goats rare
Without a thought of grief or care,
And sent the milk with his wife, Lena,
For sale around old Ballymena.

In those old days of poteen sweet
Old Slemish was a grand retreat,
And on its heights beside a rill
Old Milcho kept a poteen still;
And men who “took a drop too much”
And really there were many such
Fell out and cut each other’s heads,
And rolled and tramped the flower-beds.

Now, Patrick ended all such nonsense,
And stills and such like banished long since
And like the snakes and toads, and all,
The liquor traffic got a fall.
And for the wrong he cursed the mountain
And e’en dried up its silver fountain,
And left old Slemish bleak and dark,
On Antrim’s pretty brow a mark.

I think, when labour wins the day
For honest work and honest pay,
When every man shall own a plot,
And delve in his own cabbage-knots,
Then Ballymena Council will
St. Patrick’s dearest wish fulfil-
Employ its men for ample fee
To cast this mountain in the sea.

T. R. Robinson,
Craigs National School
7th May 1920

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