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Poems: Patriotic, Religious   By: (1839-1886)

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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." Festus.

[Based on the 1880 edition, the 1896 edition (New York) from which this was transcribed also includes Ryan's posthumous poems.]



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... Continue reading book >>

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