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Historical ballad poetry of Ireland; online

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your pride,
But God will yet take vengeance for the souls for whom Christ

died.

Now in your hour of pleasure bask ye in the world's caress ;
But our whitening bones against ye will rise as witnesses,
From the cabins and the ditches in their charred uncoffined

masses.

For the Angel of the Trumpet will know them as he passes,
A ghastly spectral army, before the great God we'll stand
And arraign ye as our murderers, the spoilers of our land !



THE FIFTH PERIOD 241

1848

TO THOMAS FRANCIS MEAGHER
BY EVA

Born In Waterford In 1803 and educated at Clongowes, Meagher first came
Into notice as a brilliant orator among the young Irelanders. In 1848 for his
share in the Insurrection lie was condemned to death. Being reprieved and
expatriated to Tasmania, he escaped to America and subsequently acquired
fame as a general on the Federal side in the American Civil War. He wan
drowned in the Missouri in 1867.

THE ancient towers of the land,
The mountains blue and hoary,
The murmuring rivers bright and bland

Seem lit with newer glory.
They look on thee, they smile on thee,

Young patriot, bend thee lowly
A spirit deep of prophecy

Breathes o'er thee, true and holy !

Oh, fold thy hands and bend thy brow,

For solemn words are spoken
The glorious way before thee now

Is yet through bonds unbroken.
Go ! strong in warrior's heart of fire

And tongue of Coradh's 1 power,
Nor force of wiles, nor darkest ire

May triumph o'er that dower !

1867

RORY OF THE HILLS
BY C. J. KICKHAM

This poem embodies the spirit of the Fenian rising of 1867.

" '"T^HAT rake up near the rafters,
A Why leave it there so long ?

The handle of the best of ash

Is smooth, and straight and strong :

1 Coradh. The war musicians of Ancient Ireland were called Coradhs.

Q



242 HISTORICAL BALLAD POETRY OF IRELAND

And, mother, will you tell me,

Why did my father frown
When to make the hay in summer-time

I climbed to take it down ? "
She looked into her husband's eyes,

While her own with light did fill.
" You'll shortly know the reason, boy,"

Said Rory of the Hill.

The midnight moon is lighting up

The slopes of Sliav-na-man
Whose foot affrights the startled hares

So long before the dawn ? "
He stopped just where the Anner's stream

Winds up the woods anear,
Then whistled low and looked around

To see the coast was clear.
A sheeling door flew open

In he stepped with right good will
" God save all here and bless your work,"

Said Rory of the Hill.

Right hearty was the welcome

That greeted him, I ween,
For years gone by he fully proved

How well he loved the Green ;
And there was one among them

Who grasped him by the hand
One who, through all that weary time

Roamed on a foreign strand ;
He brought them news from gallant friends

That made their heart-strings thrill
" My soul, I never doubted them ! "

Said Rory of the Hill.



THE FIFTH PERIOD 243

They sat around the humble board

Till dawning of the day,
And yet no song nor shout I heard

No revellers were they ;
Some brows flushed red with gladness,

While some were grimly pale :
But pale or red, from out those eyes

Flashed souls that never quail !
" And sing us now about the vow

They swore for to fulfil."
" You'll read it yet in history,"

Said Rory of the Hill.

Next day the ashen handle

He took down from where it hung.
The toothed rake, full scornfully

Into the fire he flung ;
And in its stead a shining blade

Is gleaming once again
(Oh ! for a hundred thousand of

Such weapons and such men !)
Right soldierly he wielded it,

And going through his drill,
" Attention, Charge, Front, Point, Advance,""

Cried Rory of the Hill.

She looked at him with woman's pride,

With pride and woman's fears :
She flew to him, she clung to him,

And dried away her tears.
He feels her pulse beat truly ;

While her arms around him twine
" Now, God be praised for your stout heart,

Brave little wife of mine."



244 HISTORICAL BALLAD POETRY OF IRELAND

He swung his first-born in the air,

While joy his heart did fill.
" You'll be a freeman yet, my boy,"

Said Rory of the Hill.

Oh ! knowledge is a wondrous power,

And stronger than the wind ;
And thrones shall fall and despots bow

Before the might of mind.
The poet, and the orator

The heart of man can sway,
And would to the kind Heavens

That Wolfe Tone were here to-day.
Yet, trust me, friends, dear Ireland's strength,

Her truest strength, is still
The rough and ready roving boys

Like Rory of the Hill.



OUR 'PRISONED IRISH CHIEF

BY T. O'D. O'CALLAGHAN

"The greatest Irishman since the days of Hugh O'Neill." Thus was Par-
nell described by his colleague and contemporary, the present leader of the
Irish party.Jand again his work " was the work of one masterly, cool, and far-
seeing brain, of one dauntless and unpurchasable heart. Parnell taught
Irishmen to unite, Parnell taught Irishmen self-respect and self-reliance."
J. B. Redmond, Speech In New York.



PARNELL ! all hail ! in Saxon jail
To-day immured
Bold champion of our trampled race,

Who've long endured

Deep wrong, though strong each man among
The Clan-na-Gael,



THE FIFTH PERIOD 245

Who long to front the battle-brunt

In Innisfail.
Thou'st nobly strove, with patriot love

For native-land ;
In Freedom's cause, 'gainst alien laws

Your fight was grand ;
Since gallant Tone, fell stricken, prone

Since Edward's spirit fled,
Since Emmet died by Liffey's side

Than thou none truer led
The Celtic race, with chieftain grace,

Brave heart and hero head.



ii

When clouds hung dark o'er Ireland stark,

A corpse almost ;
When cynics said the cause was dead,

And Ireland lost,
Your spirit flamed, your banner streamed

Like meteor bright,
And lit the land from shore to strand

Bold beacon light.
Brave Chief ! to-day within those gray

Old walls of stone
Thy grand soul shines like diamond mines

To light us on ;
Nor gyves nor chains can shackle brains

Or brawn like thine ;
Thy spirit soars o'er Ireland's shores

From brine to brine*



246 HISTORICAL BALLAD POETRY OF IRELAND

1891

THE DEAD CHIEF
BY KATHEBINE TYNAN

"The most wonderful, the most fascinating of Irish leaders." T. W.
Hussell.

AS a great tree, the greatest in the forest,
Sheltering a myriad birds,
And, in the tempest when the need is sorest,
The trembling flocks and herds ;

As a great tree that murmuring hears far under

Dissension, littleness
And holds its proud head high, a whole world's wonder

Over the storm and stress ;

Lo ! but our tree is down ! Who shall restore it :

There's ruin in its place,
And every meanest weed once crouched before it

Lifting a living face !

Shelterless, homeless, fatherless, forsaken,

Its outcast children go,
Their city of hope in wreck, their fear o'ertaken,

Their heaven shut out by snow.

As a great lion that all day lies dying

Massive against the sun,
And ever closer hears the jackalls crying

Because his might is done.



THE FIFTH PERIOD 247

O, but our Chief, our Love, there's no returning,

No words can make you come,
Not all our wringing hands, our useless mourning,

Our anger fierce and dumb.

They drove you to your death through a long passion

Of agony and pain ;
The cup you drank was brimmed by your own nation,

And who shall cleanse the stain ?

Was deadliest pain, within you and without you,

And death upon your face,
While every vilest creature dared to flout you,

Striking your gentleness.

Seed of the Scribes and Pharisees reviled you,

With a self-righteous prayer ;
The tongues of foulness that had fain defiled you

But showed how great you were.

The ingrates you had raised saw thus more clearly

The poisoned darts to place.
Their hate that never rested late or early

Gave you no minute's grace.

With malice and fine judgment all unerring,

They touched each vital part,
Till you were all one wound past mortal bearing,

Then broke the noblest heart.

The hate of hate was yours, our Chief, our darling

The hatred of the base
But 0, the love of love ! our heart-strings curling

Grew round you in your place.



248 HISTORICAL BALLAD POETRY OF IRELAND

Say now to Emmet and Wolfe Tone, moreover

Who hold their hands to you
That never your Ireland had a better lover

Than you, your Ireland slew.

Say yet that not their names are holier keeping

Than yours ! dear and brave,
For whom to-day your Ireland's wild with weeping,

Her wet face on your grave.

To-night and many a night in restless slumber

She'll dream you are not dead,
And wake to weep her sick tears without number

O'er your beloved head.

As a great tree, the greatest in the forest

Cast down, our darling lies,
And will not hear us though our grief be sorest,

Nor open his sad eyes.

Inconsequent and Incoherent though It be, this poem seems to us a true
sipression of the dismay and grief with which Ireland received the news of
Parnell's death.



A SONG OF DEFEAT
BY STEPHEN GWYNN

NOT for the lucky warriors,
The winner at Waterloo,
Or him of a newer name
Whom loud-voiced triumphs acclaim
Victor against the few
Not for these, Eire,
I build in my heart to-day
The lay of your sons and you.



THE FIFTH PERIOD 249

I call to your mind to-day,

Out of the mists of the past,

Many a hull and many a mast

Black in the bight of the bay

Over against Ben Edair ;

And the lip of the ebbing tideway all

Red with the life of Gael and Jail,

And the Danes in a headlong slaughter sent:

And the women of Eire keening

For Brian, slain at his tent.



Mother, O grey, sad mother,

Love, with the troubled eyes,

For whom I marshal to-day

The sad and splendid array

Calling the lost to arise,

As some queen's courtier unbidden

Might fetch her gems to the sun,

Praising the glory and glow

Of all that was hers to show

Eire, love Brian well,

For Brian fought, and he fell ;

But Brian fought, and he won ;

God, that was long ago !

Nearer and dearer to you,

Eire, Eire, mo bhron

(List to the name of your own*

sweet name, my Sorrow).

Are the Suns that flamed and faded

In a night that had no morrow



I call to your mind Red Hugh,
And the castle's broken ward ;



250 HISTORICAL BALLAD POETRY OF IRELAND

I call to your mind O'Neill,

And the fight at the Yellow Ford :

And the ships afloat on the main,

Bearing O'Donnell to Spain

For the flame of his quick and leaping soul

To be quenched in a venomed bowl ;

And the shores by the S willy's shadows,

And the Earls pushed out through the foam,

And O'Neill in his grave-clothes lying

With the wish of his heart in Ireland

And his body cold in Rome.

I call to your mind Benburb

And the stubborn Ulster steel

And the triumph of Owen Roe :

Clonmel and the glorious stand

Of the younger Hugh O'Neill;

And Owen dead at Derry

And Cromwell loosed on the land.



I call to your mind brave Sarsfield,
And the battle in Limerick street,
The mine and the shattered wall,
And the battered breach held good,
And William full in retreat :
And, at the end of all,
Wild geese rising on clamorous wing
To follow the flight of an alien king.
And the hard-won treaty broke
And the Elder faith oppressed,
And the blood but not for Ireland-
Red upon Sarsfield's breast.
Ended, the roll of the great
And the famous leaders of armies,
The shining lamps of the Gael,



THE FIFTH PERIOD 251

Who rested awhile with fate
And broke the battle on foemen,
Ere the end left widowed Eire
Lone with her desolate wail.



Lone, yet, unforsaken

Out of no far dim past

Call I the names of the last

Who strove and suffered for Eke.

Saddest and nearest of all,

See how they flock to the call,

The troop of the famous felons ;

Who won no joy of the sword,

Who tasted of no reward,

But the faint flushed dawn of a wan sick hope,

And over whose lives there dangled

Ever the shame of the rope.

I call to your mind Lord Edward ;

Tone with his mangled throat ;

Emmet high on the gallows ;

O'Brien, Mitchell and Meagher

Aye, and of newer note

Names that Eire will not forget,

Though some have faded in far off lands,

And some have passed by the hangman's hands,

And some are breathing yet.



Not for these, Eire,

Not for these, or thee,

Pipers, trumpeters, blaring loud,

The throbbing drums and the colours flying,

And the long-drawn muffled war of the crowd,

The voice of the human sea ;



252 HISTORICAL BALLAD POETRY OF IRELAND

Theirs it is to inherit

Fame of a finer grace,

In the self-renewing spirit

And the untameable heart,

Ever defeated, yet undefeated,

Of thy remembering race :

For their names are treasured apart,

And their memories green and sweet,

On every hillside and every mart

In every cabin, in every street,

Of a land, where to fail is more than to triumph,

And victory less than defeat.



CEANN DUBH DEELISH
By WILLIAM ROONEY

ODEAR Dark Head, bowed low in death-black sorrow,
Let not thy heart be trammelled in despair,
Lift, lift thine eyes upon the radiant morrow

And wait the light that surely shall break there.
What though the grave hath closed above thy dearest,

All are not gone that love thee, nor all fled,
And though thine own sweet tongue thou seldom nearest
Yet shall it ring again, O Dear Dark Head.

! Dear Dark Head that mourneth by thy waters

Crooning a caoine for the countless graves
Of valiant sons and brave true-hearted daughters

Waiting the angel's trump beneath the waves.
Take from each rising sun some ray to cheer thee,

Some gleam of glory from each sunset red ;
They bring an hour all close and closer near thee

That shall avenge these graves, Dear Dark Head*



THE FIFTH PERIOD 253

O ! Dear Dark Head, though but the curlew's screaming

Wakens the echoes of the hill and glen,
Yet shalt thou see once more the bright steel gleaming

Yet shalt thou hear again the tramp of men ;
And though their father's fate be theirs, shall others

With hearts as faithful still that pathway tread
Till we have set, oh ! mother dear of mothers,

A nation's crown upon Thy Dear Dark Head.



O ! Dear Dark Head, let not thy waiting daunt thee,

The future, if thou wiliest can be thine,
The past can summon up no shades to haunt thee

Of perjured faith or desecrated shrine ;
Lift, lift thy heart then for each year of mourning

Each sigh you breathed, every tear you shed
There yet shall be a jewel bright adorning

Thy mantle's myriad folds, Dear Dark Head.



INDEX

FIRST PERIOD

PAGE

The Celts Thomas D'Arcy Magee 19

The Song of Innisfail ..... Thomas Moore 21

The Children of Usnach Thomas Moore 22

The Death of King Conor Mac Nessa . . T. D. Sullivan 23

The Ireland of the Druids . . Thomas D'Arcy Magee 29

St. Patrick and the Bard . . . Aubrey de Vere 31

The Paschal Fire of Patrick . . Denis Florence MacCarthy 35

Columkille in Exile P. J. McCall 37

A Lament for the Fenians John O'Tuomy, trans, by J. C. Mangan 39

Prince Alfred's Itinerary . . Trans, by J. C. Mangan 41

The Danish Invasion ..... Gerald Griffin 44

Brian's Lament for King Mahon . . J. C. Mangan 46

Brian Boroimhe's March P. J. McCall 48

Brian's Address to his Army .... William Kenealy 49

King Malachi A. de Vere 52

Lament of Mac Liag for Kincors . . J. C. Mangan 53

Brian the Brave T. Moore 55

Let Erin Remember . . . . . . T. Moore 56

The Song of O'Ruark T. Moore 57



THE SECOND PERIOD

The Faithful Norman A. de Vere 61

The Munster War Song . . . Richard D' Alton Williams 62

A Vision of Connaught in Thirteenth Century . J. C. Mangan 64

The Dirge of Athunree ... . A. de Vere 06

The Dirge of Edward Bruce . . . . . A. de Vere 69

The Statute of Kilkenny A. de Vere 70

The True King A. de Vere 72

The Desmond .... . T. Moore 73

THE THIRD PERIOD

Panegyric of Black Thomas ButVr . . J. C. Mangan 77

The Reply of Shane the Proud .... Ethne 80

Shane O'Neill ... . Leamus Mac Mantis 81

The Betrayal of Clannabuidhe . Ethna Carbery 83

The Rath of Mullaghmast . . . R. D. Williams 87

254



INDEX



255



. ,1. de Fere

P. J. McCall

. William O'Neill

. M. J. McCann

J. C. Mangan

. ^ P. J. McCall

John Keegan Casey 102

Robert Dwyer Joyce 104

. M. J. McCann 108

. Will iani Drennan 110



89
1)1
93
95
98
101



The Dirge of Desmond . .

The Green Woods of Slew

A Clansman's Lament for Rory O'Moore

The Battle of Glenmalure

Dark Rosaleen ....

Follow me up to Carlo w .

The Welcome to Hugh Roe O'Donnell

Tyrrell's Pass ....

O'Donnell Abu ....

The Battle of Beal-an-atha-buidhe .

The War Song of Tyrconnel's Bard at the Battle of Blackwatcr

A. de Vere 112

The Pass of Plumes R. D. Williams 116

The Battle of Rathdrum. . . . . M . J. McCann 119
The March to Kinsale . . . . . . A. de Vere 122

Kinsale 123

The Battle of the Raven's Glen . . . .R. D. Joyce 124
The Princes of the North .... Ethna Carbery 127

Lament of the Lady Nnala O'Donnell . . P. J. McCall 128
Chieftain of Tyrconr.o 1 . . . Alfred Percival Graves 129



THE FOURTH PERIOD.



Transplanted ....

King Charle's Graces

O'Hussey's Ode to the Maguiro

Brian Boy Magee .

Rory O'Moore

MacMahon's Defiance

The Muster of the North

The Intercession

Donal Mac Seaghain na Mallacht

Awaiting Owen Roe

In-felix Felix

Battle of Benburb .

The Green Flag

Lament for Owen Roe O'Neill.

The Wexford Massacre .

The " Curse of Cromwell "

The Maiden City .

The Requital

The Last Struggle .

The Battle of the Boyne

The River Boyne .

Schomberg ....

A Ballad of Sarsfield

The Battle of Limerick .

William's Flight from Limerick

The Blacksmith of Limerick

A Ballad of Athlone



. William O'Neill 133

. A. de Vere 135

J. C. Mangan^ J36

. Ethna Carbery 139

W. Drennan 141

James M. McCane 142

Sir Chas. Gavan Duffy 145

. A. de Vere 149

Ethna Carbery 150

P. J. McCall 152

T. D. Magee 154

Roger Casement 155

M. J. Barry 158

Thomas Davis 160

M. J. Barry 162

. A. de Vere 163

Charlotte Elizabeth 165

. A. de Vere 167

. A. de Vere 168

Colonel Blacker 169

T. D. Magee 172

. William Archer 174

. A. de Vere 175

. T. Dams 177

Erionnah 179

R. D. Joyce 181

. A. de Vere 184



256



INDEX



After the Battle .

Forget not the Field

The Treaty Stone of Limerick

The Death of Sarsfield .

The Irish Rapparees

The Penal Days

Fontenoy



PAGE

. T. Moore 185

. T. Moore 186

Anon, 187

. T. Davis 189

Sir Ch. Gavan Duffy 190

. T. Davis 192

T. Davis 194



THE FIFTH PERIOD



The Arms of Eighty-two.

Grattan. .

The Dungannon Convention

Song of the Volunteers of 1782

The Shan Van Vocht

The Wake of William Orr

Ninety-Eight

The Wearing of the Green

The Croppy Boy .

Mairin-ni-Cullinan .

The Geraldines

The Memory of the Dead

Arbor Hill ....

The Union ....

England's Ultimatum

Emmet's Death

Rody McCorley

Michael Dwyer

Lament for Grattan

O'Connell .

1829

Father Matthew

A Mystery ....

The Famine Year .

To Thomas Francis Meagher .

Our 'Prisoned Irish Chief

The Dead Chief

A Song of Defeat .

Ceann Dubh Deelish



M. J. Barry 199

. A. de Vere 200

. T. Davis 201

. T. Dams 203

Anon. 205

W. Drennan 207

William Rooney 209

. 211

Carroll M alone 212

. Ethna Carbery 214

T. Davis 215

John Kelts Ingram 219

Robert Emmet 221

Sliabh Cuilinn 223

Sliabh Cuilinn 224

. 8. F. C. 225

Ethna Carbery 227

. T. D. Sullivan 229

. T. Moore 231

Denis F. McCarthy 233

Denis F. McCarthy 234

T. Condon 236

. D. F. McCarthy 237

Lady Wilde 238

. Eva 241

T. O'D. O'Callaghan 244

Katherine Tynan 246

Stephen Qwynn 248

William Rooney 232






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Online LibraryM. J BrownHistorical ballad poetry of Ireland; → online text (page 13 of 13)