Give me three grains of corn, mother,
Only three grains of corn;
It will keep the little life I have
Till the coming of the morn.
I am dying of hunger and cold, mother,
I am dying of hunger and cold,
And half the agony of such a death
My lips have never told.
It has gnawed like a wolf at my heart, mother,
Like a wolf that is fierce for blood,
And the livelong day, and the night beside,
Gnawing for lack of food.
I dreamed of bread in my sleep, mother,
And the sight was heaven to see;
I woke with an eager, famishing lip,
But you had no bread for me.
How could I look to you, mother,
How could I look to you,
For bread to give to your starving boy,
When you were starving too!
For I read the famine in your cheek,
And in your eye so wild,
And felt it in your bony hand,
As you laid it on your child.
The Queen has lands and gold, mother,
The Queen has lands and gold;
While you are forced to your empty breast
A skeleton babe to hold;
A babe that is dying of want, mother,
As I am dying now,
With a ghastly look in its sunken eye,
And famine upon its brow.
What has poor Ireland done, mother,
What has poor Ireland done,
That the world looks on and sees us starve,
Perishing one by one!
Do the men of England care not, mother,
The great men and the high,
For the suffering sons of Erin's Isle,
Whether they live or die!
There is many a brave heart here, mother,
Dying of want and cold,
While only across the channel, mother,
Are many that roll in gold.
There are rich and proud men there, mothe,
With wondrous wealth to view,
And the bread they fling to the dogs tonight
Would give me life and you.
Come nearer to my side, mother,
Come nearer to my side,
And hold me fondly as you held
My father when he died.
Quick, for I cannot see you, mother,
My breath is almost gone;
Mother! dear mother!
Ere I die give me three grains of corn!
Gross, O. R., "Give Me Three Grains of Corn, Mother" (1848). Historic Sheet Music Collection. 705.
The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.