These verses were in my mother's papers.
They are office farewells
delivered when she left the Labour Exchange in 1942
to marry Luke O'Dwyer.
I don't know who wrote the first one but is looks like the hand and style of her colleague and friend MF (Mary F O'Connell).
It is well written and, unlike much modern verse, actually scans!
There is one intrigueing section where Luke contemplates throwing himself off Butt Bridge into the Liffey if his suit is rejected. The very fact that this reference is included suggests that the author, whatever about my mother, had no idea that my grandfather was discovered drowned in the Liffey in the vicinity of the same bridge almost a quarter of a century earlier (June 1918).
Cupid came from Eden Quay,
With Bow and Arrow taut,
And called in to the Labour there,
His darts with passion fraught.
He went up to Hatch 29.
And took aim throught the grill,
And hit the heart of Morty,
Unknown to that poor girl.
But when she met a Mayo man,
The passion took its toll,
The poor man fell, beneath her spell,
And gave her heart and soul.
I have no lands or great estates
No titles to bestow
I'm just a humble Mayo man,
Not fit for thee I know.
I am no city slicker
With a shine upon my hair,
To walk up Lower O'Connell Street,
With manner debonair.
But if you'll be my own true wife,
And take me and my Raleigh,
I'll make you Howth's uncrowned queen
My darling black haired Sally.
She thought awhile in pensive mood,
And blushed a roseate hue,
"You are so sweet - I cannot think -
I'm really fond of you.
But my career - I really fear. -
Means quite a lot to me.
My public must be thought of too,
I'm sure you will agree.
There's vacancies that must be filled
All by my lily hand.
For I'm the best Employment clerk
In this benighted land."
The Western Luke by this was shook
As well you may conceive,
Oh ! that maid to whom I've paid
My court should me deceive.
My love. I give my life, my hand,
To you my darling Sally.
Oh ! leave that dread Employment Place,
Be mine and do not dally.
"The matter is deferred" quoth she,
"for more consideration.
Apply on form 3/6/0/8
For final information."
The clock struck twelve.
"This place is closed"
Quoth E.C. number 1
"Call again from 2 - 4
We'll see what can be done."
The lovelorn swain at this was fain,
To end his wretched life.
What good to him the future grim
Without his chosen wife.
"I'll choose for hell the Liffey swell"
He shouted from Butt Bridge.
But being a man he changed his plan,
And swore "I'll thaw the fridge".
The battle on, he called upon
His many allies true.
The fetid air, the glassy stare
Of every wretched queue,
Returns that dance, before your glance
Making five from two and two.
"It is no life for my dear wife,
It is no life for you!"
"I must confess to acquiesce",
The maid at last agreed,
With one word "yes" no more or less.
Another clerk was freed.
The die is cast, I'm out at last.
A month from now I'll see
The azure sky, the birds that fly
The plains of Arcady.
"But halt alas, before I pass,
One deed to me remains,
An interview I'd fain eschew,
Before I break my chains".
The closed door, I still abhor
The bar sing in a treble,
The scrutiny that mutiny
Drags from each budding rebel".
With bated breath and pale as death,
She neared the veiled presence.
She rapped the door and prayed the floor
Would swallow up her essence.
"I wanted leave ? Do you believe
Exigencies could grant it?
Returns are due, there's work to do",
The great and powerful panted.
"If you elect to choose, select,
Or otherwise appoint,
A day to wed, on which I said,
The time was out of joint,
I must acquaint the management
Of your great misdemeanour,
And penalise you red-tape wise
In a Civil Service Manner."
"My darling Luke, please overlook
My whilom hesitation.
I did not know I now avow
A maiden's fitting station.
No more I'll cook returns that look
Like drunken hieroglyphyics.
I'll take a turn to cook or burn
A dish to your specifics.
The second offering is of lesser quality and a bit mushy.
It appears designed to be sung to the
air of "Let him go let him tarry"
Farewell to cold winter
Summer's on its way
And the Labour's blackeyed beauty
Is leaving Saturday.
She is going to join a Mayo Man
In Hymen's holy bond,
And leave the ugly ducklings
To wallow in the pond.
Let them go, let them tarry,
Let them work or let them play,
Let them register in thousands
For work across the "say".
Let the S.O.s give their dirty looks
As often as they choose
For I'm going to concentrate
On meats and pies and stews.
For time and rush and bustle
Will never bother me again
I'll lie in bed and pity you
In frost and snow and rain.
And when e're I smell the ozone
Wafted on the breeze
I'll thank the Lord most fervently
Upon my bended knees.
Let them go, let them tarry,
Let them stink in sordid queues
And I'll thank the heavens
I'm no longer in your shoes.
I'll be walking down the harbour
Nodding to the fish
And I'll have a cup of coffee
Anytime I wish.
For I will be so happy
With my husband and my home,
And never more my heart and mind
From dear old Howth will roam.
I will hike across the sunny hills.
And I'll swim in the sea.
Oh. girls! this is the life for me
I'm sure you will agree.
Let them go, let them tarry
Let them wrangle over leave
Let the powers that be, conspire
More ghastly plans to weave.
I'll be on top of sunny hills
Abroad in lovely Howth
Or plying round the waters
With my hubby in a boat.