A monologue from the play by John Millington Synge
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Shadow of the Glen; Riders to the Sea. John Millington Synge. London: Elkin Mathews, 1905.
I’ve seen the fearfullest thing any person has seen, since the day Bride Dara seen the dead man with the child in his arms.
I seen Michael himself. I’m after seeing him this day, and he riding and galloping. Bartley came first on the red mare;
and I tried to say “God speed you,” but something choked the words in my throat. He went by quickly; and “the blessing of God on you,” says he, and I could say nothing.
I looked up then, and I crying, at the gray pony, and there was Michael upon it–with fine clothes on him, and new shoes on his feet.
It’s little the like of Bartley know of the sea . . . he will be lost now. Let you call in Eamon and make me a good coffin out of the white boards,
for I won’t live after them. I’ve had a husband, and a husband’s father, and six sons in this house–six fine men,
though it was a hard birth I had with every one of them and they coming to the world–and some of them were found and some of them were not found,
but they’re gone now the lot of them . . . There was Stephen, and Shawn, were lost in the great wind,
and found after in the Bay of Gregory of the Golden Mouth, and carried up the two of them on the one plank, and in by that door.
There was Sheamus and his father, and his own father again, were lost in a dark night, and not a stick or sign was seen of them when the sun went up.
There was Patch after was drowned out of a curagh that turned over. I was sitting here with Bartley, and he a baby,
lying on my two knees, and I seen two women, and three women, and four women coming in, and they crossing themselves, and not saying a word.
I looked out then, and there were men coming after them, and they holding a thing in the half of a red sail, and water dripping out of it–
it was a dry day, Nora–and leaving a track to the door. There does be a power of young men floating round in the sea,
and what way would they know if it was Michael they had, or another man like him, for when a man is nine days in the sea,
and the wind blowing, it’s hard set his own mother would be to say what man was it.