Workhouse Nurse

There is not in this Green Isle a Union so sweet

As the workhouse of Newry where Guardians do meet

The last rays of feeling and joy must depart

Ere the bloom of their counsel shall fade from my heart

Oh ’tis not that the paupers resplendent are seen

In Bluey-grey raiment, so ample and clean

‘Tis not that the matron adorns them with skill

Oh no! It is something more exquisite still 


Sure it is the sweet fragrance the nurses impart

That moistens the eyelid and gladdens the heart

Sweet fragrance to cherish and cheer like a spell

With the feline amenities mingled as well


Nurse Roche, oh beloved, how calm, I would rest

With my hand on the board that was drawn from my chest

And if that another had there to be placed

I would cherish the laces wherewith I was laced


Nurse Bennett the bonny: Fitzgerald the fair

Of skill so exceeding, of beauty so rare

Methinks to be nursed by such ladies is joy

And to think that such nursing was scouted by Roy!


Small wonder that swords from their scabbards were drawn

When the foot of Nurse Welsh fell like dew to the dawn

And the words of the legals waxed bitter and loud

When Nurse Day, like a day beam, smiled out of the cloud.


Bright angels of mercy with aprons for wings

And caps for a halo and brooms for harp strings

How blest the poor paupers whose beds ye surround

How happy the Union in which ye are found.

A concise history of Newry Workhouse begins here …

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