The Planter’s Daughter by Austin Clarke is one of Ireland’s most popular poems.
A planter was the name for a person that would buy some land from the government at a low price and then employ local people to work it.
So a planter was a person of wealth and power, and a planter’s daughter would ordinarily be seen as too good to associate with the working classes. But the planter’s daughter in this poem was down to earth, friendly and approachable.
The Planter’s Daughter
When night stirred at sea
And the fire brought a crowd in,
They say that her beauty
Was music in mouth
And few in the candlelight
Thought her too proud,
For the house of the planter
Is known by the trees.
Men that had seen her
Drank deep and were silent,
The women were speaking
Wherever she went –
As a bell that is rung
Or a wonder told shyly,
And O she was the Sunday
In every week.
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