Thomas MacDonagh was an Irish nationalist, poet, playwright, and a leader of the 1916 Easter Rising. He was born in Cloughjordan, County Tipperary. He grew up in a household filled with music, poetry and learning and was instilled with a love of both English and Irish culture from a young age. He was a talented poet who captured and intertwined themes of sadness, tragedy, joy and beauty. Here is one of his best poems entitled:
'THE STARS STAND UP IN THE AIR'.
The stars up in the air,
The sun and the moon are gone,
The strand of its waters is bare.
And her sway is swept from the swan.
The cuckoo was calling all day,
Hid in the branches above,
How my stóirín is fled away,
'Tis my grief that I gave her my love.
Three things through love I see--
Sorrow and sin and death--
And my mind reminding me
That this doom I breathe with my breath.
But sweeter than violin or lute
Is my love--and she left me behind.
I wish that all music were mute,
And I to all beauty were blind.
She's more shapely than swan by the strand,
She's more radiant than grass after dew,
She's more fair than the stars where they stand--
'Tis my grief that her ever I knew!