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Short poem

John Boyle O'Reilly (1844-1890)

The Cry of the Dreamer

              1I am tired of planning and toiling
              2     In the crowded hives of men;
              3Heart-weary of building and spoiling,
              4     And spoiling and building again.
              5And I long for the dear old river,
              6     Where I dreamed my youth away;
              7For a dreamer lives forever,
              8     And a toiler dies in a day.

              9I am sick of the showy seeming
            10     Of a life that is half a lie;
            11Of the faces lined with scheming
            12     In the throng that hurries by.
            13From the sleepless thoughts' endeavor,
            14     I would go where the children play;
            15For a dreamer lives forever,
            16    And a thinker dies in a day.

            17I can feel no pride, but pity
            18     For the burdens the rich endure;
            19There is nothing sweet in the city
            20     But the patient lives of the poor.
            21Oh, the little hands too skillful,
            22     And the child-mind choked with weeds!
            23The daughter's heart grown willful,
            24     And the father's heart that bleeds!

            25No, no! from the street's rude bustle,
            26     From the trophies of mart and stage,
            27I would fly to the woods' low rustle
            28     And the meadows' kindly page.
            29Let me dream as of old by the river,
            30     And be loved for the dream alway;
            31For a dreamer lives forever,
            32     And a toiler dies in a day.


5] river: the Boyne, on whose south bank stands Dowth Castle, Drogheda, where O'Reilly was born.

28] meadow: Boyne Meadow, between the Boyne and Dowth Castle. page: paging, calling.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: James Jeffrey Roche, Life of John Boyle O'Reilly ... Together with his Complete Poems and Speeches, edited by Mrs. John Boyle O'Reilly (New York: Cassell, 1891): 463-64. PS 2493 R6 Robarts Library
First publication date: 8 May 1886
Publication date note: Life, p. 291.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/12/11

Rhyme: ababcdcd

Other poems by John Boyle O'Reilly