With thanks to poet Becky Bishop for telling me about Lady Gregory.
Isabella Augusta Persse was born at Roxborough, County Galway, Ireland on 15th March 1852. She was educated at home and became interested in Irish folklore at an early age.
On 4th March 1880, in St Matthias' Church, Dublin, Isabella married Sir William Henry Gregory, a widower with an estate at Coole Park, near Gort. Sir William had just retired from his post as Governor of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), having previously served several terms as Member of Parliament for County Galway. Their only child, WW1 soldier artist William Robert Gregory https://lesserknownartists.blogspot.com/2020/08/william-robert-gregory-mc-1881-1918.htmlwas born in 1881. He was killed during the First World War while serving as a pilot, an event which inspired W. B. Yeats's poems "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death", "In Memory of Major Robert Gregory" and "Shepherd and Goatherd".
Isabella, William Butler Yeats and Edward Martyn founded the Irish Literary Theatre and the Abbey Theatre.
Isabella died on 22nd May 1932.
“Alas! A woman may not love!” by Lady Gregory
Alas! a woman may not love!
For why should she bestow in vain
The riches of that treasure-trove
To win but a receipt of pain.
For never will the gainer pay
In full the love she gives away –
Be it a brother – soon some other
Sweet maiden passing holds his eye
And in his thought she stands for naught
His second self in days gone by –
Be it a husband – ah! how soon
The rainbow-coloured honeymoon
Fades in dull tints of common life
With misty cares and clouds of strife –
Be it her sons – some few short years
They cling to her in smiles and tears
But childhood passes fast and then
The boys look on themselves as men
And learn too quickly to despise
The love lore in their mother’s eyes –
Or if – ah me! she chance to find
One led to her by wayward fate
In whom she learns a kindred mind
Found by her own too late – too late –
Ah pity her – for if she yield
What from remorse her soul can shield –
Or if she conquer, the sore strife
May yet have cost her half her life –
The wound that ne’er can be laid bare
May be the sorest scar to wear –
The grief that brings no right to weep
May be the one to banish sleep –
Perchance not so in heaven above –
But here, a woman may not love.