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Seven dog-days we let pass
Naming Queens in Glenmacnass,
All the rare and royal names
Wormy sheepskin yet retains,
Etain, Helen, Maeve, and Fand,
Golden Deirdre's tender hand,
Bert, the big-foot, sung by Villon,
Cassandra, Ronsard found in Lyon.
Queens of Sheba, Meath and Connaught,
Coifed with crown, or gaudy bonnet,
Queens whose finger once did stir men,
Queens were eaten of fleas and vermin,
Queens men drew like Monna Lisa,
Or slew with drugs in Rome and Pisa,
We named Lucrezia Crivelli,
And Titian's lady with amber belly,
Queens acquainted in learned sin,
Jane of Jewry's slender shin:
Queens who cut the bogs of Glanna,
Judith of Scripture, and Gloriana,
Queens who wasted the East by proxy,
Or drove the ass-cart, a tinker's doxy,
Yet these are rotten — I ask their pardon —
And we've the sun on rock and garden,
These are rotten, so you're the Queen
Of all the living, or have been.

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  • Synge is the most highly esteemed playwright of the Irish literary renaissance, the movement in which such literary figures as William Butler Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory made their mark at the turn of the twentieth century. Although he died just short of his thirty-eighth birthday and produced a modest number of works, his writings have made an impact on audiences, writers, and Irish culture.

    Born near Dublin on April 16, 1871, Synge was the youngest of five children in an upper-class Protestant family. His father died the following year; the four boys and one girl were raised by their deeply religious mother. Synge attended private schools for four years, beginning at the age of ten, but ill health prevented his regular attendance, and his mother hired a private tutor to instruct him at home. At Trinity College, Dublin, he earned a pass degree in December, 1892. His...

  • Poems By J. M. Synge

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