The Mother’s Lament at the Slaughter of the Innocents

by | Feb 20, 2022

An Irish poem

Then, as she plucked her son from her
breast for the executioner, one of the
women said:

‘Why do you tear from me my darling son,
The fruit of my womb?
It was I who bore him, he drank my breast.
My womb carried him about, he sucked my vitals.
He filled my heart:
He was my life, ’tis death to have him taken from me.
My strength has ebbed,
My voice is stopped,
My eyes are blinded.’

Then another woman said:

‘It is my son you take from me.
I did not do the evil,
But kill me — me: don’t kill my son!
My breasts are sapless, my eyes are wet,
My hands shake,
My poor body totters.
My husband has no son,
And I no strength;
My life is worth — death.
Oh, my one son, my God!
His foster-father has lost his hire.
My birthless sicknesses with no requital until Doom.
My breasts are silent,
My heart is wrung.’

Then said another woman:

‘Ye are seeking to kill one; ye are killing many.
Infants ye slay, fathers ye wound; you kill the mothers.
Hell with your deed is full, heaven shut.
Ye have spilt the blood of guiltless innocents.’

And yet another woman said:

‘O Christ, come to me!
With my son take my soul quickly:
O Great Mary, Mother of the Son of God,
What shall I do without my son?
For Thy Son, my spirit and my sense are killed.
I am become a crazy woman for my son.
After the piteous slaughter
My heart’s a clot of blood
From this day
Till Doom comes.’

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