ABRAM J. RYAN
Father Ryan's Poems
By Abram J. Ryan (Father Ryan)
In preparing this electronic text of Father Ryan's poems
I was struck by the biased nature of the memoir included.
While I will not gainsay anyone's right to their beliefs
I believe it is clearly evident from the poems themselves
that Father Ryan believed strongly in the Southern Cause
and I do not believe his reaction was entirely emotional
as seems to be implied. The Memoir also makes mention of
Father Ryan's poem "Reunited" as evidence of his support
for the reunification of the States. To be fair to Ryan
I would note that such stanzas as
"The Northern heart and the Southern heart
May beat in peace again;
"But still till time's last day
Whatever lips may plight
The blue is blue but the gray is gray
Wrong never accords with Right."
in `Sentinel Songs' are much more common in his poems.
I believe it important to notice this as it demonstrates
that while Ryan loved Peace he never forsook the Cause.
Regarding his possible dates of birth I can do no better
than the Memoir included but I can at least match places
with dates to wit: Hagerstown Md. on 5 February 1838;
or Norfolk Virginia sometime in 1838 or 15 August 1839.
His full name was Abram Joseph Ryan and he was the son
of Matthew and Mary (Coughlin) Ryan. He was ordained in 1856
and he taught at Niagara N.Y. and Cape Girardeau Missouri
before he became a chaplain in the Confederate Army in 1862.
He edited several publications including the "Pacificator"
the Catholic weekly "The Star" (New Orleans)
and "The Banner of the South" in Augusta Georgia.
He was the pastor of St. Mary's Church in Mobile Alabama
from 1870 to 1883. He died at a Franciscan Monastery
at Louisville Kentucky on 22 April 1886. He is buried in Mobile.
His most famous poem is "The Conquered Banner"
which had its measure inspired by a Gregorian hymn.
Alan R. Light May 1996 Birmingham Alabama.
[Note on text: Italicized words or phrases are marked by tildes (~).
Some obvious errors have been corrected.]
Poems: Patriotic Religious Miscellaneous.
By Abram J. Ryan (Father Ryan).
Containing his posthumous poems.
"All Rests with those who Read. A work or thought
Is what each makes it to himself and may
Be full of great dark meanings like the sea
With shoals of life rushing; or like the air
Benighted with the wing of the wild dove
Sweeping miles broad o'er the far southwestern woods
With mighty glimpses of the central light --
Or may be nothing -- bodiless spiritless."
[Based on the 1880 edition the 1896 edition (New York)
from which this was transcribed also includes Ryan's posthumous poems.]
ARE LAID AS A GARLAND OF LOVE
AT THE FEET OF HIS MOTHER
BY HER CHILD THE
These verses (which some friends call by the higher title of Poems
to which appellation the author objects) were written at random --
off and on here there anywhere -- just when the mood came
with little of study and less of art and always in a hurry.
Hence they are incomplete in finish as the author is;
tho' he thinks they are true in tone. His feet know more of the humble steps
that lead up to the Altar and its Mysteries than of the steeps
that lead up to Parnassus and the Home of the Muses.
And souls were always more to him than songs. But still
somehow -- and he could not tell why -- he sometimes tried to sing.
Here are his simple songs. He never dreamed of taking even lowest place
in the rank of authors. But friends persisted; and finally
a young lawyer friend who has entire charge of his business in the book
forced him to front the world and its critics. There are verses
connected with the war published in this volume not for harm-sake
nor for hate-sake but simply because the author wrote them.
He could write again in the same tone and key under the same circumstances.
No more need be said except that these verses mirror the mind of
Memoir of Father Ryan
Song of the Mystic
Reverie ["Only a few more years!"]
Lines -- 1875
Nocturne ["I sit to-night by the firelight"]
The Old Year and the New
The Sword of Robert Lee
A Laugh -- and A Moan
In Memory of My Brother
"Out of the Depths"
March of the Deathless Dead
A Land without Ruins
The Prayer of the South
Feast of the Assumption
A Child's Wish
Last of May
Feast of the Sacred Heart
In Memory of Very Rev. J. B. Etienne
Lines (Two Loves)
The Land We Love
Reverie ["We laugh when our souls are the saddest"]
I Often Wonder Why 'Tis So
July 9th 1872
Wake Me a Song
In Memoriam (David J. Ryan C.S.A.)
What? (To Ethel)
The Master's Voice
The Rosary of My Tears
What Ails the World?
After Seeing Pius IX
Fragments from an Epic Poem
"Peace! Be Still"
Nocturne ["Betimes I seem to see in dreams"]
A Reverie ["Did I dream of a song? or sing in a dream?"]
The Conquered Banner
A Christmas Chant
Sorrow and the Flowers
Song of the River
Lines ["Sometimes from the far-away"]
Parting St. Stephen
A Flower's Song
The Star's Song
Death of the Flower