Give Me Three Grains Of Corn (MacEdward Leach)

Give me three grains of corn, mother,
only three grains of corn,
It'll keep the little life I have
till the coming of the morn;
I'm dying of hunger and cold, mother,
yes, dying of hunger and cold,
And half the anguish of such a death
my lips they never told.

It grieves my heart like it was, mother,
it was bad as forceful blood,
And all the day and the livelong night
I cried for the want of food;
I dream of bread in my sleep, mother,
the sight it was heaven to me,
But I woke with an eager famished thirst,
but you have no bread for me

How could I look to you, mother,
oh, how could I look to you
For bread to give to your starving boy
when you are starving, too?
I read of famine in your cheeks
and in your eyes so mild,
And I felt it in your bony hand
when you laid it on your child.

The queen has land and gold, mother,
the queen has land and gold,
Whilst you are forced to an empty breast
a skeleton babe to hold;
A babe who is dying of want, mother,
as I am dying now,
With a ghostly look in his sinking eye
and famine upon his brow.

What has poor Ireland done, mother,
what has poor Ireland done,
That the world looks on and sees them starve,
dying one by one;
The great men care not, mother,
the great men on the high,
For the suffering sons of Ireland's isle
or whether they live or die.

There's many a brave heart here, mother,
now dying of want and cold,
Whilst only over the channel
so many are holding gold;
There's rich and great men there, mother,
with wondrous wealth to view,
And the bread they throw to their dogs tonight
would give life to me and you.

Draw nearer to my side, mother,
draw nearer to my side,
And hold me fondly as you held
my father when he died;
I cannot see you now, mother,
my sight is almost gone,
But mother, dear mother, before I die
give me three grains of corn.

####.... Variant of a parlour song with words by Mrs A M Edmond and music by O R Gross, published as Give Me Three Grains Of Corn, Mother in 1848 (first year of the Irish potato famine) by Oliver Ditson, Boston, Massachusetts, with sheet music deposited in The Library of Congress, Music Division, Digital ID: sm1848.431920. A variant also appeared in Sinn Fein (Dublin) on June 21, 1913. Also of note, on page 249 of Hazel Felleman's 1936 collection The Best Loved Poems Of The American People, Doubleday, the author is cited as Amelia Blanchard Edwards ....####
This variant was sung by Nicholas (Nick) Paddy Maher [1893-?] of Flatrock, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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