John Martley

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John Martley (15 May 1844 – 25 August 1882) was an Irish 19th century poet. He contributed pieces to several Dublin magazines before his early death in 1882. His works were posthumously collected in Fragments in Prose and Verse (1883).


  • Child in thy beauty; empress in thy pride;
    Sweet and unyielding as the summer's tide;
    Starlike to tremble, starlike to abide.
    Guiltless of wounding, yet more true than steel;
    Gem-like thy light to flash and to conceal;
    Tortoise to bear, insect to see and feel.
    Blushing and shy, yet dread we thy disdain;
    Smiling, a sunbeam fraught with hints of rain;
    Trilling love-notes to freedom's fierce refrain.
    The days are fresh, the hours are wild and sweet,
    When spring and winter, dawn and darkness meet;
    Nymph, with one welcome, thee and these we greet.
    • "A Budget of Paradoxes"
  • In the Valley of Shanganagh, where the songs of skylarks teem,
    And the rose perfumes the ocean-breeze, as love the hero's dream,
    'Twas there I wooed my Maggie. In her dark eyes there did dwell
    A secret that the billows knew, but yet could never tell.
    Oh! light as fairy tread her voice fell on my bounding heart;
    And like the wild bee to the flower still clinging we would part.
    "Sweet valley of Shanganagh," then I murmured, "though I die,
    My soul will never leave thee for the heaven that's in the sky!"
    In the Valley of Shanganagh, where the sullen seagulls gleam,
    And the pine-scent fills the sighing breeze as death the lover's dream,
    'Twas there I lost my Maggie. Why that fate upon us fell
    The powers above us knew, perhaps, if only they would tell.
    Oh! like the tread of mournful feet it fell upon my heart,
    When, as the wild bee leaves the rose, her spirit did depart.
    In the Valley still I linger, though it's fain I am to die,
    But it's hard to find a far-off heaven when clouds are in the sky.
    • "The Valley of Shanganagh (Written for the air 'The Wearing of the Green')"