Irish heroine Maud Gonne had sex at her child's grave
THE much-lauded nationalist Maud Gonne was so grief stricken by the death of her son that she hoped to reincarnate him by having sex next to the dead infant's coffin.
The bizarre tale comes to light in a programme for the BBC Radio 4 series 'From Our Own Correspondent'.
Immortalised in the poetry of W B Yeats, Maud Gonne at one point became obsessed with the idea of recreating her two-year-old son George who died in France in 1891.
Writing in his memoirs, Yeats recalled that she began to repeatedly ask his circle of friends about the reality of reincarnation.
One friend - the writer and mystic George Russell - assured her that it was indeed possible to recreate a dead child's soul if the parents went about it in the right way.
In late 1893 Ms Gonne contacted her son’s father, French politician Lucien Millevoye, and asked him to meet her in Samois-sur-Seine near the chapel where their child was buried.
The pair had separated after Georges' death.
According to Yeats, the couple entered the small chapel then opened the metal doors leading down to the crypt. It is then, next to the dead baby's coffin, that they had sex.
Whether the act had the desired effect a matter for metaphysicians but what is certain is that in 1894 Maud Gonne had another baby. This was her daughter Iseult, who later in life, Maud Gonne she refused to call her “daughter” in company, instead describing her as a “cousin”.
Nearly a decade on, Maud Gonne who played a public role in the struggle for Irish independence. She married Irish Republican John MacBride and had a third child with him, Irish politician and Nobel peace prize winner Sean MacBride.
Later after the Free State was founded in 1922 she remained a vocal figure in Irish politics and civil rights.