J. C. Mangan, ‘“My Dark Rosaleen” and Other Translations from the Gaelic’,
selected by Louise Imogen Guiney

See Louise Imogen Guiney, “A Study of James Clarence Mangan”, prefixed to J. C. Mangan: The Selected Poems (1897), pp.3-112 - attached.

[Source: Available at Internet Archive > Open Library [formats: book or text]; accessed 04.02.2011. (No digitised version of this text is attached in the Hathi Trust listings for Mangan and Guiney - as online.)]

The poems given here are copied from the section-title of that name in Louise Imogen Guiney, ed., James Clarence Mangan: His Selected Poems (1897). Other sections - such as “Translations, mostly from the German” - are listed in the Bibliography pages of the Mangan files in “Authors AZ” [as supra] but not included here. (See note on page formats, infra.)

Contents
“My Dark Rosaleen”
“Prince Aldfrid’s Itinerary through
  Ireland”
“Kinkora”
“St. Patrick’s Hymn Before Tara”
“O’Daly’s Keen for O’Neill”
“The Fair Hills of Eire, O”
“The Geraldine’s Daughter”
“Lamentation [...] Sir Maurice Fitzgerald”
“Ellen Bawn
“O’Hussey’s Ode to the Maguire”
“A Lament for the Tyrone and
  Tyrconnell”
“A Love Song”
“A Lullaby”
“Expedition & Death of King Dathy”
“The Woman of Three Cows”
“A Farewell to Patrick Sarsfield”
“The Ruins of Donegal Castle”
“Sancta Opera Domini”
“Kathaleen Ny-Houlahan”
“Welcome to the Prince”
“The Song of Gladness”
“The Dream of John Mac Donnell”
“The Sorrows of Innisfail”
“Leather Away with the Wattle, O!”
“Lament for Banba”
“The Dawning of the Day”
“Dirge for the O’Sullivan Beare”

My Dark Rosaleen (traditional)
 
This impassioned song, entitled, in the original, Roisin Dubh, or The Black-Haired Little Rose, was written in the reign of Elizabeth by one of the poets of the celebrated Tyrconnellian chieftain, Hugh the Red O’Donnell. It purports to be an allegorical address from Hugh to Ireland on the subject of his love and struggles for her, and his resolve to raise her again to the glorious position she held as a nation, before the irruption of the Saxon and Norman spoilers.
 

My Dark Rosaleen,
Do not sigh, do not weep!
The priests are on the ocean green,
They march along the deep.
There’s wine from the royal Pope
Upon the ocean green;
And Spanish ale shall give you hope,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My own Rosaleen!
Shall glad your heart, shall give you hope,
Shall give you health, and help, and hope,
My Dark Rosaleen!

Over hills and thro’ dales,
Have I roamed for your sake;
All yesterday I sailed with sails
On river and on lake.
The Erne at its highest flood
I dashed across unseen,
For there was lightning in my blood,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My own Rosaleen!
O there was lightning in my blood,
Red lightning lightened thro’ my blood.
My Dark Rosaleen!

All day long, in unrest,
To and fro, do I move,
The very soul within my breast
Is wasted for you, love!
The heart in my bosom faints
To think of you, my Queen,
My life of life, my saint of saints,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My own Rosaleen!
To hear your sweet and sad complaints,
My life, my love, my saint of saints,
My Dark Rosaleen!

Woe and pain, pain and woe
Are my lot, night and noon.
To see your bright face clouded so,
Like to the mournful moon,
But yet will I rear your throne
Again in golden sheen;

’Tis you shall reign, shall reign alone,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My own Rosaleen!
’Tis you shall have the golden throne,
’Tis you shall reign, and reign alone.
My Dark Rosaleen!

Over dews, over sands,
Will I fly for your weal;
Your holy delicate white hands
Shall girdle me with steel.
At home in your emerald bowers,
From morning’s dawn till e’en,
You’ll pray for me, my flower of flowers,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My fond Rosaleen!
You’ll think of me thro’ daylight hours,
My virgin flower, my flower of flowers,
My Dark Rosaleen!

I could scale the blue air,
I could plough the high hills,
O I could kneel all night in prayer,
To heal your many ills!
And one beamy smile from you
Would float like light between
My toils and me, my own, my true,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My fond Rosaleen!
Would give me life and soul anew,
A second life, a soul anew,
My Dark Rosaleen!

O the Erne shall run red
With redundance of blood,
The earth shall rock beneath our tread,
And flames wrap hill and wood,
And gun-peal and slogan-cry
Wake many a glen serene,
Ere you shall fade, ere you shall die,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My own Rosaleen!
The Judgment Hour must first be nigh,
Ere you can fade, ere you can die,
My Dark Rosaleen!

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Prince Aldfrid’s Itinerary through Ireland
 
Amongst the Anglo-Saxon students resorting to Ireland was Prince Aldfrid, afterwards King of the Northumbrian Saxons. His having been educated there about the year 684 is corroborated by Venerable Bede in his Life of S. Cuthbert. The original poem of which this is a translation, attributed to Aldfrid, is still extant in the Irish language.
 

I found in Innisfail the fair,
In Ireland, while in exile there,
Women of worth, both grave and gay men,
Many clerics and many laymen.

I travelled its fruitful provinces round,
And in every one of the five I found,
Alike in church and in palace hall,
Abundant apparel, and food for all.

Gold and silver I found in money;
Plenty of wheat and plenty of honey;
I found God’s people rich in pity,
Found many a feast, and many a city.

I also found in Armagh the splendid,
Meekness, wisdom, and prudence blended,
Fasting, as Christ hath recommended,
And noble councillors untranscended.

I found in each great church moreo’er,
Whether on island or on shore.
Piety, learning, fond affection,
Holy welcome and kind protection.

I found the good lay monks and brothers
Ever beseeching help for others,
And, in their keeping, the Holy Word
Pure as it came from Jesus the Lord.

I found in Munster unfettered of any,
Kings, and queens, and poets a many,
Poets well-skilled in music and measure;
Prosperous doings, mirth and pleasure.

I found in Connaught the just, redundance
Of riches, milk in lavish abundance;

Hospitality, vigor, fame,
In Cruachan’s land of heroic name.

I found in the country of Connall, the glorious,
Bravest heroes ever victorious;
Fair-complexioned men and warlike,
Ireland’s lights, the high, the starlike

I found in Ulster from hill to glen,
Hardy warriors, resolute men;
Beauty that bloomed when youth was gone,
And strength transmitted from sire to son.

I found in the noble district of Boyle,
(MS. here illegible.)
Brehons, Erenachs, weapons bright,
And horsemen bold and sudden in fight.

I found in Leinster the smooth and sleek.
From Dublin to Slewmargy’s peak,
Flourishing pastures, valor, health.
Long-living worthies, commerce, wealth.

I found, besides, from Ara to Glea,
In the broad rich country of Ossorie,
Sweet fruits, good laws for all and each.
Great chess-players, men of truthful speech,

I found in Meath’s fair principality
Virtue, vigor, and hospitality;
Candor, joyfulness, bravery, purity,
Ireland’s bulwark and security.

I found strict morals in age and youth,
I found historians recording truth;
The things I sing of in verse unsmooth,
I found them all. I have written sooth.

Notes

Cruachan, or Croghan, was the name of the royal palace of Connaught.
Tyrconnell, the present Donegal
Brehon, a law judge; Erenach, a ruler, an archdeacon.
Slewmargy, a mountain in the Queen’s County, near the river Barrow.
Bede assures us that the Irish were a harmless and friendly people. To them many of the Angles had been accustomed to resort in search of knowledge, and on all occasions had been received and supported gratuitously. Aldfrid lived in spontaneous exile among the Scots (Irish) through his desire of knowledge, and was called to the throne of Northumbria after the decease of his brother Egfrid in 685." -Lingard’ s England, vol. i. chap. 3.

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Kinkora (Mac Liag)  
 
This poem is ascribed to Mac-Liag, the secretary of Brian Boruimha, who fell at the battle of Clontarf, in 1014; and the subject of it is a lamentation for the fallen condition of Kinkora, the palace of that monarch, consequent on his death. The decease of Mac-Liag is recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters, as having taken place in 1015. A great number of his poems are still in existence, but none of them has obtained a popularity so widely extended as his Lament, The palace of Kinkora, which was situated on the banks of the Shannon, near Killaloe, is now a heap of ruins.
 

O where, Kinkora! is Brian the Great,
And where is the beauty that once was thine?
O where are the princes and nobles that sate
At the feast in thy halls, and drank the
  red wine?
Where, O Kinkora?

O where, Kinkora! are thy valorous lords?
O whither, thou hospitable! are they gone?
O where are the Dalcassians of the golden
  swords?
And where are the warriors Brian led on?
Where, O Kinkora?

And where is Morrough, the descendant of
  kings,
The defeater of a hundred, the daringly brave.
Who set but slight store by jewels and rings.
Who swam down the torrent and laughed at
  its wave?
Where, O Kinkora?

And where is Donogh, King Brian’s worthy son?
And where is Conaing, the beautiful chief?
And Kian and Core? Alas! they are gone:
They have left me this night alone with my
  grief!
Left me, Kinkora!

And where are the chiefs with whom Brian went forth?
The sons never-vanquished of Evin the brave,
The great King of Osnacht, renowned for his
  worth,
And the hosts of Baskinn from the western
  wave?
Where, O Kinkora?

O where is Duvlann of the swift-footed steeds?
And where is Kian who was son of Molloy?

And where is King Lonergan, the fame of
  whose deeds
In the red battle-field no time can destroy?
Where, O Kinkora?

And where is that youth of majestic height.
The faith-keeping Prince of the Scots? Even he.
As wide as his fame was, as great as was
  his might,
Was tributary, Kinkora, to thee!
Thee, O Kinkora!

They are gone, those heroes of royal birth
Who plundered no churches, and broke no trust;
’Tis weary for me to be living on earth
When they, O Kinkora, lie low in the dust.
Low, O Kinkora!

O never again will princes appear,
To rival the Dalcassians, of the cleaving swords;
I can never dream of meeting afar or anear,
In the east or the west, such heroes and lords!
Never, Kinkora!

O dear are the images my memory calls up
Of Brian Boru! how he never would miss
To give me at the banquet, the first bright cup.
Ah! why did he heap on me honor like this?
Why, O Kinkora?

I am Mac-Liag, and my home is on the lake:
Thither often, to that palace whose beauty
  is fled,
Came Brian to ask me, and I went for his sake-
O my grief! that I should live, and Brian be
  dead!
Dead, O Kinkora!

Notes

Colg n-or, or the swords of Gold, i.e. of the Gold-hilted Swords.
Dalcassians: The Dalcassians were Brian’s body-guard.

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St. Patrick’s Hymn before Tara
 
The original Irish of this hymn was published by Dr. Petrie, in vol. xviii., Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy. It is in the Bearla Peine, the most ancient dialect of the Irish, the same in which the Brehon laws were written. It was printed from the Liber Hymnorum, preserved in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, a manuscript, which, as Dr. Petrie proves by the authority of Usher and others, must be nearly twelve hundred and fifty years old.
 

At Tara to-day, in this awful hour,
I call on the Holy Trinity!
Glory to Him who reigneth in power.
The God of the elements. Father, and Son,
And Paraclete Spirit, which Three are the One,
The ever-existing Divinity!

At Tara to-day I call on the Lord,
On Christ, the Omnipotent Word,
Who came to redeem from death and sin
Our fallen race;
And I put and I place
The virtue that lieth and liveth in
His Incarnation lowly.
His Baptism pure and holy,
His Life of toil, and tears, and affliction,
His dolorous Death, his Crucifixion,
His Burial, sacred and sad and lone.
His Resurrection to life again.
His glorious Ascension to Heaven’s high throne.
And, lastly, his future dread
And terrible Coming to judge all men,
Both the living and dead; -

At Tara to-day I put and I place
The virtue that dwells in the Seraphim’s love,
And the virtue and grace
That are in the obedience
And unshaken allegiance
Of all the Archangels and Angels above.
And in the hope of the Resurrection
To everlasting reward and election.
And in the prayers of the Fathers of old,
And in the truths the Prophets foretold.
And in the Apostles’ manifold preachings.
And in the Confessors’ faith and teachings,
And in the purity ever dwelling
Within the immaculate Virgin’s breast,
And in the actions bright and excelling
Of all good men, the just and the blest; -

At Tara to-day, in this fateful hour,
I place all Heaven with its power.
And the sun with its brightness.
And the snow with its whiteness.
And fire with all the strength it hath,
And lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path.
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the earth with its starkness, -
All these I place.
By God’s almighty help and grace.
Between myself and the Powers of Darkness!

At Tara to-day
May God be my stay!
May the strength of God now nerve me!
May the power of God preserve me!
May God the Almighty be near me!
May God the Almighty espy me I
May God the Almighty hear me!
May God give me eloquent speech!

May the arm of God protect me!
May the host of God attend me,
And ward me,
And guard me
Against the wiles of demons and devils,
Against the temptations of vices and evils.
Against the bad passions and wrathful will
Of the reckless mind and the wicked heart;
Against every man who designs me ill.
Whether leagued with others or plotting apart!

In this hour of hours,
I place all those powers
Between myself and every foe
Who threatens my body and soul
With danger or dole.
To protect me against the evils that flow
From lying soothsayers’ incantations.
From the gloomy laws of the Gentile nations,
From heresy’s hateful innovations,
From idolatry’s rites and invocations;
Be those my defenders.
My guards against every ban.
And spells of smiths, and Druids, and women;
In fine, against every knowledge that renders
The light Heaven sends us dim in
The spirit and soul of man!

May Christ, I pray.
Protect me to-day
Against poison and fire.
Against drowning and wounding,
That so, in His grace abounding,
I may earn the preacher’s hire!

Christ, as a light,
Illumine and guide me!
Christ as a shield, o’ershadow and cover me!
Christ be under me! Christ be over me!
Christ be beside me
On left hand and right!
Christ be before me, behind me, about me!
Christ this day be within and without me!

Christ, the lowly and meek,
Christ, the All-Powerful, be
In the heart of each to whom I speak.
In the mouth of each who speaks to me!
In all who draw near me,
Or see me or hear me!

At Tara to-day, in this awful hour,
I call on the Holy Trinity!
Glory to Him who reigneth in power,
The God of the Elements, Father, and Son,
And Paraclete Spirit, which Three are the One,
The ever-existing Divinity!

Salvation dwells with the Lord,
With Christ, the Omnipotent Word:
From generation to generation
Grant us, O Lord, thy grace and salvation!

Notes

Starkness: Properly, "strength," "firmness," from the Anglo-Saxon stark, "strong, stiff."

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O’Daly’s Keen for O’Neill  

O mourn, Erin, mourn!
He is lost, he is dead.
By whom thy proudest flag was borne,
Thy bravest heroes led:
The night-winds are uttering
Their orisons of woe.
The raven flaps his darkling wing
O’er the grave of Owen Roe,
Of him who should have been thy King,
The noble Owen Roe.

Alas, hapless land.
It is ever thus with thee;
The eternal destinies withstand
Thy struggle to be free.
One after one thy champions fall.
Thy valiant men lie low.
And now sleeps under shroud and pall
The gallant Owen Roe,
The worthiest warrior of them all,
The princely Owen Roe!

Where was sword, where was soul
Like to his below the skies?
Ah, many a century must roll
Ere such a chief shall rise!
I saw him in the battle’s shock:
Tremendous was his blow:

As smites the sledge the anvil block,
His blade smote the foe.
He was a tower; a human rock
Was mighty Owen Roe.

Woe to us! Guilt and wrong
Triumph, while, to our grief,
We raise the keen, the funeral song
Above our fallen chief.
The proud usurper sways with power,
He rules in state and show.
While we lament our fallen tower,
Our leader, Owen Roe;
While we, like slaves, bow down and cower.
And weep for Owen Roe.

But the high will of Heaven
Be fulfilled evermore!
What tho’ it leaveth us bereaven
And stricken to the core.
Amid our groans, amid our tears.
We still feel and know
That we shall meet in after years
The sainted Owen Roe:
In after years, in brighter spheres,
Our glorious Owen Roe!

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The Fair Hills of Eire, O (Donogh Mac Con-Mara)

Take a blessing from my heart to the land of my
  birth.
And the fair hills of Eire, O!
And to all that yet survive of Eibhear’s tribe on
  earth,
On the fair hills of Eire, O!
In that land so delightful the wild thrush’s lay.
Seems to pour a lament forth for Eire’s decay.
Alas, alas, why pine I a thousand miles away
From the fair hills of Eire, O!
The soil is rich and soft, the air is mild and bland.
Of the fair hills of Eire, O!

Her barest rock is greener to me than this rude
  land;
O the fair hills of Eire, O!
Her woods are tall and straight, grove rising over
  grove;
Trees flourish in her glens below and on her
  heights above;
Ah, in heart and in soul I shall ever, ever love
The fair hills of Eire, O!

A noble tribe, moreover, are the now hapless Gael,
On the fair hills of Eire, O!
A tribe in battle’s hour unused to shrink or fail
On the fair hills of Eire, O!
For this is my lament in bitterness outpoured
To see them slain or scattered by the Saxon
  sword:
O woe of woes to see a foreign spoiler horde
On the fair hills of Eire, O!
Broad and tall rise the cruachs in the golden
  morning glow

On the fair hills of Eire, O!
O’er her smooth grass for ever sweet cream and
  honey flow
On the fair hills of Eire, O!

Oh, I long, I am pining, again to behold
The land that belongs to the brave Gael of old.
Far dearer to my heart than a gift of gems or gold
Are the fair hills of Eire, O!

The dewdrops lie bright mid the grass and yellow
  corn
On the fair hills of Eire, O!
The sweet-scented apples blush redly in the morn
On the fair hills of Eire, O!
The water-cress and sorrel fill the vales below.
The streamlets are hushed till the evening breezes
  blow.
While the waves of the Suir, noble river! ever flow
Neath the fair hills of Eire, O!

A fruitful clime is Eire’s, through valley, meadow,
  plain.
And the fair hills of Eire, O!
The very bread of life is in the yellow grain
On the fair hills of Eire, O!
Far dearer unto me than the tones music yields
Is the lowing of the kine and the calves in her fields,
In the sunlight that shone long ago on the shields
Of the Gaels, on the fair hills of Eire, O!

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The Geraldine’s Daughter (Egan O’Rahilly)  

A beauty all stainless, a pearl of a maiden
Has plunged me in trouble, and wounded
  my heart.
With sorrow and gloom is my soul overladen,
An anguish is there, that will never depart.
I could voyage to Egypt across the deep
  water,
Nor care about bidding dear Eire farewell,
So I only might gaze on the Geraldine’s
  daughter,
And sit by her side in some green pleasant dell!

Her curling locks wave round her figure of
  lightness,
All dazzling and long, like the purest of gold;
Her blue eyes resemble twin stars in their
  brightness,
And her brow is like marble or wax to behold.
The radiance of heaven illumines her features
Where the snows and the rose have erected
  their throne;
It would seem that the sun had forgotten all
  creatures.
To shine on the Geraldine’s daughter alone.

Her bosom is swan-white, her waist smooth
  and slender,
Her speech is like music, so sweet and so free.
The feelings that glow in her noble heart
  lend her
A mien and a majesty lovely to see.

Her lips, red as berries, but riper than any.
Would kiss away even a sorrow like mine!
No wonder such heroes and noblemen many
Should cross the blue ocean to kneel at
  her shrine.

She is sprung from the Geraldine race, the
  great Grecians,
Niece of Mileadh’s sons of the Valorous Bands,
Those heroes, the seed of the olden
  Phoenicians,
Though now trodden down, without fame,
  without lands;
Of her ancestors flourished the Barrys and
  Poers,
To the Lords of Bunratty she too is allied.
And not a proud noble near Cashel’s high
  towers
But is kin to this maiden, the Geraldine’s pride.

Of Saxon or Gael there is none to excel in
Her wisdom, her features, her figure, this fair;
In all she surpasses the far-famous Helen,
Whose beauty drove thousands to death
  and despair.
Whoe’er could but gaze on her aspect so noble
Would feel from thenceforward all anguish
  depart;
Yet for me ’tis, alas, my worst woe and my
  trouble
That her image must always abide in my heart!

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Lamentation for the Death of Sir Maurice Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry, who was killed in Flanders, in 1642 (Pierce Ferriter)

There was lifted up one voice of woe,
One lament of more than mortal grief.
Through the wide south to and fro.
For a fallen chief.
In the dead of night that cry thrilled thro’ me;
I looked out upon the midnight air.
Mine own soul was all as gloomy,
As I knelt in prayer.

O’er Loch Gur, that night, once, twice, yea,
  thrice.
Passed a wail of anguish for the brave.
That half curdled into ice
Its moon-mirroring wave.
Then uprose a many-toned wild hymn in
Choral swell from Ogra’s dark ravine.
And Mogeely’s phantom women,
Mourned the Geraldine!

Far on Carah Mona’s emerald plains
Shrieks and sighs were blended many hours,
And Fermoy in fitful strains
Answered from her towers.
Youghal, Kinalmeaky, Imokilly,
Mourned in concert, and their piercing keen
Woke to wondering life the stilly
Glens of Inchiquin.

From Loughmoe to yellow Dunanore
There was fear; the traders of Tralee
Gathered up their golden store.
And prepared to flee;
For in ship and hall, from night till morning
Showed the first faint beamings of the sun.
All the foreigners heard the warning
Of the dreaded one!

"This," they spake, "portendeth death to us,
If we fly not swiftly from our fate."
Self-conceited idiots, thus
Ravingly to prate!
Not for base-born higgling Saxon trucksters
Ring laments like these by shore and sea;
Not for churls with souls of hucksters
Waileth our banshee!

For the high Milesian race alone
Ever flows the music of her woe;
For slain heir to bygone throne.
And for chief laid low!
Hark! ... Again, methinks, I hear her weeping
Yonder. Is she near me now, as then?
Or was but the night-wind sweeping
Down the hollow glen?

 

Phantom women: Banshees.

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Ellen Bawn (traditional)  

Ellen Bawn, O Ellen Bawn, you darling, darling
  dear, you.
Sit awhile beside me here; I’ll die unless I’m
  near you!
’Tis for you I’d swim the Suir and breast the
  Shannon’s waters;
For, Ellen dear, you’ve not your peer in
  Galway’s blooming  daughters!

Had I Limerick’s gems and gold at will to meet
  and measure,
Were Loughrea’s abundance mine, and all
  Portumna’s treasure.
These might lure me, might ensure me many
  and many a new love,
But ah! no bribe could pay your tribe for one
  like you, my true love!

Blessings be on Connaught! That’s the place
  for sport and raking;
Blessings, too, my love, on you, a-sleeping
  and awaking!

I’d have met you, dearest Ellen, when the sun
  went under.
But, woe! the flooding Shannon broke across
  my path in thunder.

Ellen! I’d give all the deer in Limerick’s parks
  and arbors.
Aye, and all the ships that rode last year in
  Munster harbors.
Could I blot from time the hour I first became
  your lover;
For O! you’ve given my heart a wound it never
  can recover!

Were to God that in the sod my corpse to-night
  were lying,
And the wild birds wheeling o’er it, and the
  winds a-sighing!
Since your cruel mother and your kindred
  choose to sever
Two hearts that Love would blend in one
  for ever and for ever.

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O’Hussey’s Ode to The Maguire
 
O’Hussey, the last hereditary bard of the great sept of Maguire, of Fermanagh, who flourished about 1630, possessed a fine genius. He commenced his vocation when quite a youth, by a poem celebrating the escape of the famous Hugh Roe O’Donnell from Dublin Castle, in 1591, into which he had been treacherously betrayed. The noble ode which O’Hussey addressed to Hugh Maguire, when that chief had gone on a dangerous expedition, in the depth of an unusually severe winter, is as interesting an example of the devoted affection of the bard to his chief, and as vivid a picture of intense desolation, as could be well conceived. Mr. Fergusson [sic], in a fine piece of criticism on this poem, remarks: "There is a vivid vigor in these descriptions, and a savage power in the antithetical climax, which claim a character almost approaching to sublimity. Nothing can be more graphic, yet more diversified, than his images of unmitigated horror: nothing more grandly startling than his heroic conception of the glow of glory triumphant over frozen toil. We have never read this poem without recurring, and that by no unworthy association, to Napoleon in his Russian campaign. Yet, perhaps, O’Hussey has conjured up a picture of more inclement desolation, in his rude idea of northern horrors, than could be legitimately employed by a poet of the present day, when the romance of geographical obscurity no longer permits us to imagine the Phlegrean regions of endless storm, where the snows of Haemus fall mingled with the lightnings of Etna, amid Bistonian wilds or Hyrcanian forests." - Dublin University Magazine, vol. iv.
 

Where is my chief, my master, this bleak night,
  mavrone?
O cold, cold, miserably cold is this bleak night
  for Hugh!
Its showery, arrowy, speary sleet pierceth one
  thro’ and thro’.
Pierceth one to the very bone.

Rolls real thunder? Or was that red livid light
Only a meteor? I scarce know; but through
the midnight dim
The pitiless ice-wind streams. Except the hate
  that persecutes him,
Nothing hath crueler venomy might.

An awful, a tremendous night is this, meseems!
The flood-gates of the rivers of heaven, I think,
  have been burst wide;
Down from the overcharged clouds, like to
  headlong ocean’s tide.
Descends gray rain in roaring streams.

Tho’ he were even a wolf ranging the round
  green woods,
Tho’ he were even a pleasant salmon in the
  unchainable sea,
Tho’ he were a wild mountain eagle, he could
  scarce bear, he,
This sharp sore sleet, these howling floods.

O mournful is my soul this night for Hugh
  Maguire!
Darkly as in a dream he strays. Before him and
  behind
Triumphs the tyrannous anger of the wounding
  wind,
The wounding wind that burns as fire.

It is my bitter grief, it cuts me to the heart
That in the country of Clan Darry this should
be his fate!
O woe is me, where is he? Wandering,
 houseless,  desolate,
Alone, without or guide or chart!

Medreams I see just now his face, the
  strawberry-bright.
Uplifted to the blackened heavens, while
  the tempestuous winds
Blow fiercely over and round him, and the
  smiting sleet-shower blinds
The hero of Galang to-night!

Large, large affliction unto me and mine it is
That one of his majestic bearing, his fair
  stately form.
Should thus be tortured and overborne;
  that this unsparing storm
Should wreak its wrath on head like his!

That his great hand, so oft the avenger of the
  oppressed.
Should this chill churlish night, perchance, be
  paralyzed by frost;
While through some icicle-hung thicket, as one
  lorn and lost.
He walks and wanders without rest.

The tempest-driven torrent deluges the mead.
It overflows the low banks of the rivulets and
  ponds;
The lawns and pasture-grounds lie locked in icy
  bonds.
So that the cattle cannot feed.

The pale-bright margins of the streams are seen
  by  none;
Rushes and sweeps along the untamable flood
  on  every side;
It penetrates and fills the cottagers’ dwellings
  far and wide:
Water and land are blent in one.

Through some dark woods, ’mid bones of
  monsters, Hugh now strays,
As he confronts the storm with anguished
  heart, but manly brow.
O what a sword-wound to that tender heart
  of his,  were now
A backward glance at peaceful days!

But other thoughts are his, thoughts that can
  still inspire
With joy and an onward-bounding hope the
  bosom of MacNee:
Thoughts of his warriors charging like bright
  billows of the sea.
Borne on the wind’s wings, flashing fire!

And tho’ frost glaze to-night the clear dew of
  his eyes.
And white ice-gauntlets glove his noble fine fair
  fingers o’er,
A warm dress is to him that lightning-garb
  he ever  wore.
The lightning of the soul, not skies.

                              Avran
Hugh marched forth to fight: I grieved to see
  him so depart.
And lo! to-night he wanders frozen, rain-
  drenched, sad, betrayed;
But the memory of the lime-white mansions his
  right hand hath laid
In ashes, warms the hero’s heart!

Notes

Avran: A concluding stanza, generally intended as a recapitulation of the entire poem.

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A Lament for the Princes of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, Buried in San Pietro Montorio at Rome (Owen Roe Mac An Bhaird)
 
This is an elegy on the death of the princes of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, who, having fled with others from Ireland in the year 1607, and afterwards dying in Rome, were interred on St. Peter’s Hill in one grave. The poem is the production of The O’Donnell’s bard, Owen Roe Mac an Bhaird, or Ward, who accompanied the family in their exile; it is addressed to Nuala, The O’Donnell’s sister, who was also one of the fugitives. As the circumstances connected with the flight of the northern earls, which led to the subsequent confiscation of the six Ulster counties by James I may not be immediately in the recollection of many of our readers, it may be proper briefly to state that it was caused by the discovery of a letter directed to Sir William Ussher, Clerk of the Council, dropped in the council-chamber on the seventh of May, and which accused the northern chieftains generally of a conspiracy to overthrow the government. This charge is now totally disbelieved. As an illustration of the poem, and as an interesting piece in itself of hitherto unpublished literature, we extract the account of the flight as recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters and translated by Mr. O’Donovan: ‘Maguire (Cuconnaught), and Donogh, son of Mahon, who was son of the Bishop O’Brien, sailed in a ship to Ireland, and put in at the harbor of Swilly. They then took with them from Ireland the earl O’Neill (Hugh, son of Ferdoragh) and the Earl O’Donnell (Rory, son of Hugh, who was son of Magnus) and many others of the nobles of the province of Ulster. These are the persons who went with O’Neill, namely: his Countess Catherina, daughter of Magennis, and her three sons, Hugh, the Baron, John, and Brian; Art Oge, son of Cormac, who was son of the Baron; Ferdoragh, son of Con, who was son of O’Neill; Hugh Oge, son of Brian, who was son of Art O’ Neill; and many others of his most intimatefriends. These were they who went with the Earl O’Donnell, namely: Caffer, his brother, with his sister Nuala; Hugh, the Earl’s child, wanting three weeks of being one year old; Rose, daughter of O’Doherty and wife of Caffer, with her son Hugh, aged two years and three months; his (Rory’s) brother’s son Donnell Oge, son of Donnell; Naghtan, son of Calvach, who was son of Donogh Cairbreach O’Donnell; and many others of his intimate friends. They embarked on the festival of the Holy Cross in autumn. This was a distinguished company; and it is certain that the sea has not borne and the wind has not wafted, in modern times, a number of persons in one ship more eminent, illustrious, or noble in point of genealogy, heroic deeds, valor, feats of arms, and brave achievements than they. Would that God had but permitted them to remain in their patrimonial inheritances until the children should arrive at the age of manhood! Woe to the heart that meditated, woe to the mind that conceived, woe to the council that recommended the project of this expedition, without knowing whether they should, to the end of their lives, be able to return to their native principalities or patrimonies.’ The Earl of Tyrone was the illustrious Hugh O’Neill, the Irish leader in the wars against Elizabeth.
 

O woman of the piercing wail,
Who mournest o’er yon mound of clay
With sigh and groan.
Would God thou wert among the Gael!
Thou wouldst not then from day to day
Weep thus alone.

’Twere long before around a grave
In green Tyrconnell, one could find
This loneliness;
Near where Beann-Boirche’s banners wave,
Such grief as thine could ne’er have pined
Companionless,
Beside the wave in Donegal,
In Antrim’s glens, or fair Dromore,
Or Killillee,
Or where the sunny waters fall
At Assaroe, near Erna shore,
This could not be.
On Derry’s plains, in rich Drumclieff,
Throughout Armagh the Great, renowned
In olden years.
No day could pass but woman’s grief
Would rain upon the burial-ground
Fresh floods of tears!

O no! - From Shannon, Boyne, and Suir,
From high Dunluce’s castle-walls.
From Lissadill,
Would flock alike both rich and poor:
One wail would rise from Cruachan’s halls
To Tara hill;
And some would come from Barrow-side,
And many a maid would leave her home
On Leitrim’s plains,
And by melodious Banna’s tide.
And by the Mourne and Erne, to come
And swell thy strains!

Oh, horses’ hoofs would trample down
The mount whereon the martyr-saint,
Was crucified;
From glen and hill, from plain and town,
One loud lament, one thrilling plaint,
Would echo wide.
There would not soon be found, I ween,
One foot of ground among those bands
For museful thought.
So many shriekers of the keen,
Would cry aloud, and clap their hands,
All woe-distraught!

Two princes of the line of Conn
Sleep in their cells of clay beside
O’Donnell Roe:
Three royal youths, alas! are gone.
Who lived for Erin’s weal, but died
For Erin’s woe.
Ah, could the men of Ireland read
The names these noteless burial-stones
Display to view.
Their wounded hearts afresh would bleed.
Their tears gush forth again, their groans
Resound anew!

The youths whose relics moulder here
Were sprung from Hugh, high prince and lord
Of Aileach’s lands;
Thy noble brothers, justly dear,
Thy nephew, long to be deplored
By Ulster’s bands.
Theirs were not souls wherein dull time
Could domicile decay, or house
Decrepitude!
They passed from earth ere manhood’s prime,
Ere years had power to dim their brows.
Or chill their blood.

And who can marvel o’er thy grief.
Or who can blame thy flowing tears,
That knows their source?
O’Donnell, Dunnasava’s chief,
Cut off amid his vernal years,
Lies here a corse
Beside his brother Cathbar, whom
Tyrconnell of the Helmets mourns
In deep despair:
For valor, truth, and comely bloom.
For all that greatens and adorns,
A peerless pair.

Oh, had these twain, and he, the third,
The Lord of Mourne, O’Niall’s son
(Their mate in death,
A prince in look, in deed and word),
Had these three heroes yielded on
The field their breath.
Oh, had they fallen on Criffan’s plain,
There would not be a town nor clan
From shore to sea.
But would with shrieks bewail the slain,
Or chant aloud the exulting rann,
Of jubilee!

When high the shout of battle rose,
On fields where freedom’s torch still burned
Thro’ Erin’s gloom,
If one, if barely one of those
Were slain, all Ulster would have mourned
The hero’s doom!
If at Athboy, where hosts of brave
Ulidian horsemen sank beneath
The shock of spears,
Young Hugh O’Niall had found a grave.
Long must the north have wept his death,
With heart- wrung tears!

If on the day of Ballachmyre

The Lord of Mourne had met, thus young,
A warrior’s fate.

In vain would such as thou desire
To mourn, alone, the champion sprung
From Niall the Great!
No marvel this: for all the dead,
Heaped on the field, pile over pile.
At Mullach-brack,
Were scarce an eric, for his head.
If Death had stayed his footsteps, while
On victory’s track!

If on the Day of Hostages
The fruit had from the parent bough
Been rudely torn.
In sight of Munster’s bands, Mac-Nee’s,
Such blow the blood of Conn, I trow,
Could ill have borne.
If on the day of Balloch-boy,
Some arm had laid, by foul surprise,
The chieftain low.
Even our victorious shout of joy
Would soon give place to rueful cries
And groans of woe!

If on the day the Saxon host
Were forced to fly, a day so great
For Ashanee,,
The chief had been untimely lost.
Our conquering troops should moderate
Their mirthful glee,
There would not lack on Lifford’s day.
From Galway, from the glens of Boyle,
From Limerick towers,
A marshalled file, a long array
Of mourners to bedew the soil
With tears in showers!

If on the day a sterner fate
Compelled his flight from Athenry,
His blood had flowed,
What numbers all disconsolate
Would come unasked, and share with thee
Affliction’s load!
If Derry’s crimson field had seen
His life-blood offered up, though ’twere
On victory’s shrine,
A thousand cries would swell the keen,,
A thousand voices of despair
Would echo thine!

Oh, had the fierce Dalcassian swarm
That bloody night on Fergus’ banks,
But slain our chief
When rose his camp in wild alarm.
How would the triumph of his ranks
Be dashed with grief!
How would the troops of Murbach mourn
If on the Curlew Mountains’ day
Which England rued,
Some Saxon hand had left them lorn.
By shedding there, amid the fray,
Their prince’s blood!

Red would have been our warrior’s eyes
Had Roderick found on Sligo’s field
A gory graven
No northern chief would soon arise
So sage to guide, so strong to shield,
So swift to save.
Long would Leith-Cuinn, have wept if Hugh
Had met the death he oft had dealt
Among the foe;
But, had our Roderick fallen too,
All Erin must, alas, have felt
The deadly blow.

What do I say? Ah, woe is me!
Already we bewail in vain
Their fatal fall!
And Erin, once the great and free,
Now vainly mourns her breakless chain,
And iron thrall.
Then, daughter of O’Donnell, dry
Thine overflowing eyes, and turn
Thy heart aside,
For Adam’s race is born to die,
And sternly the sepulchral urn
Mocks human pride.

Look not, nor sigh, for earthly throne.
Nor place thy trust in arm of clay.
But on thy knees
Uplift thy soul to God alone.
For all things go their destined way
As He decrees.
Embrace the faithful crucifix.
And seek the path of pain and prayer
Thy Saviour trod;
Nor let thy spirit intermix
With earthly hope, with worldly care,
Its groans to God!

And Thou, O mighty Lord! whose ways
Are far above our feeble minds
To understand.
Sustain us in these doleful days.
And render light the chain that binds
Our fallen land!

Look down upon our dreary state,
And thro’ the ages that may still
Roll sadly on,
Watch thou o’er hapless Erin’s fate,
And shield at least from darker ill
The blood of Conn!

 

Martyr saint: St. Peter. This passage is not exactly a blunder, though at first it may seem one: the poet supposes the grave itself transferred to Ireland, and he naturally includes in the transference the whole of the immediate locality around the grave.
Keen: Caoine, the funeral-wail, pronounced Keen.
Rann: Song.
Eric: A compensation or fine.
Ashanee: Ballyshannon.
Leith-Cuinn, northern half of Ireland, Leith-Moga, southern half.

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A Love Song (traditional)

Lonely from my home I come,
To cast myself upon your tomb
And to weep.
Lonely from my lonesome home,
My lonesome house of grief and gloom.
While I keep
Vigil often all night long.
For your dear, dear sake.
Praying many a prayer, so wrong,
That my heart would break!

Gladly, O my blighted flower.
Sweet apple of my bosom’s tree!
Would I now
Stretch me in your dark death-bower
Beside your corpse, and lovingly
Kiss your brow.
But we’ll meet ere many a day
Never more to part.
For even now I feel the clay
Gathering round my heart.

In my soul doth darkness dwell,
And thro’ its dreary winding caves
Ever flows,
Ever flows with moaning swell.
One ebbless flood of many waves
Which are woes.
Death, love, has me in his lures;
But that grieves not me,
So my ghost may meet with yours
On yon moon-loved lea.

When the neighbors near my cot
Believe me sunk in slumber deep,
I arise
(For, oh, ’tis a weary lot.
This watching aye, and wooing sleep
With hot eyes);

I arise, and seek your grave.
And pour forth my tears,
While the winds that nightly rave
Whistle in mine ears.

Often turns my memory back
To that dear evening in the dell.
When we twain
Sheltered by the sloe-bush black.
Sat, laughed, and talked, while thick sleet fell.
And cold rain.
Thanks to God! no guilty leaven
Dashed our childish mirth:
You rejoice for this in Heaven,
I not less on earth!

Love! the priests feel wroth with me,
To find I shrine your image still
In my breast,
Since you are gone eternally,
And your fair frame lies in the chill
Grave at rest;
But true love outlives the shroud.
Knows nor check nor change.
And beyond time’s world of cloud
Still must reign and range.

Well may now your kindred mourn
The threats, the wiles, the cruel arts,
Long they tried
On the child they left forlorn!
They broke the tenderest heart of hearts,
And she died.
Curse upon the love of show!
Curse on pride and greed!
They would wed you "high" - and woe!
Here behold their meed.

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A Lullaby (Owen Roe O’Sullivan)  

O hushaby, baby! Why weepest thou?
The diadem yet shall adorn thy brow,
And the jewels thy sires had, long agone,
In the regal ages of Eoghan and Conn,
Shall all be thine.
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!
My sorrow, my woe, to see thy tears,
Pierce into my heart like spears.

I’ll give thee that glorious apple of gold
The three fair goddesses sought of old,
I’ll give thee the diamond sceptre of Pan,
And the rod with which Moses, that holiest man,
Wrought marvels divine:
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!

I’ll give thee that courser, fleet on the plains.
That courser with golden saddle and reins,
Which Falvey rode, the mariner-lord.
When the blood of the Danes at Cashel-na-Nord
Flowed like to dark wine:
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!

I’ll give thee the dazzling sword was worn
By Brian on Cluan-tarava’s morn.
And the bow of Murrough, whose shaft shot gleams
That lightened as when the arrowy beams
Of the noon-sun shine:
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!

And the hound that was wont to speed amain
From Cashel’s rock to Bunratty’s plain.
And the eagle from gloomy Aherlow,
And the hawk of Skellig; all these I’ll bestow
On thee and thy line:
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!

And the golden fleece that Jason bore
To Hellas’ hero-peopled shore.
And the steed that Cuchullin bought of yore
With cloak and necklet and golden store
And meadows and kine:
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!

And Connal’s unpierceable shirt of mail,
And the shield of Nish, the prince of the Gael;
These twain for thee, my babe, shall I win,
With the flashing spears of Achilles and Finn,
Each high as a pine:
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!

And the swords of Diarmuid and fierce Fingal,
The slayers on heath and (alas!) in hall;
And the charmed helmet that Oscar wore
When he left Mac Treoin to welter in gore,
Subdued and supine:
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!

And the jewel wherewith Queen Eofa proved
The valor and faith of the hero she loved;
The magic jewel that nerved his arm
To work his enemies deadly harm
On plain and on brine:
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!

And the wondrous cloak renowned in song.
The enchanted cloak of the dark Dubh-long,
By whose powerful aid he battled amid
The thick of his foes, unseen and hid.
This, too, shall be thine:
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!

The last, not least, of thy weapons, my son,
Shall be the glittering glaive of O’Dunn,
The gift from Ænghus’ powerful hands,
The hewer-down of the Fenian bands
With edge so fine!
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!

And a princess too, transcending all
Who have held the hearts of men in thrall,
Transcending Helen of history,
Thy bride in thy palmier years shall be;
Thy bride heroine:
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!

Even Hebe, who fills the nectar up
For Love, in his luminous crystal cup,
Shall pour thee out a wine in thy dreams,
As bright as thy poet-father’s themes
When inspired by the Nine.
O hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!

And silken robes, and sweet soft cates
Shall thou wear and eat, beyond thy mates.
Ah, see, here comes thy mother, Moirin!
She, too, has the soul of an Irish queen:
She scorns to repine!
Then hushaby, hushaby, child of mine!
My sorrow, my woe, to see thy tears.
Pierce into my heart like spears.

 

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The Expedition and Death of King Dathy  

King Dathy assembled his Druids and Sages,
And thus he spake to them: "Druids and Sages!
What of King Dathy?
What is revealed in destiny’s pages
Of him or his? Hath he
Aught for the future to dread or to dree?
Good to rejoice in, or evil to flee?
Is he a foe of the Gall
Fitted to conquer, or fated to fall?"

And Beirdra the Druid made answer as thus:
(A priest of a hundred years was he.)
"Dathy! thy fate is not hidden from us!
Hear it thro’ me!
Thou shalt work thine own will:
Thou shalt slay, thou shalt prey,
And be conqueror still!
Thee the earth shall not harm!
Thee we charter and charm
From all evil and ill;
Thee the laurel shall crown!
Thee the wave shall not drown!
Thee the chain shall not bind!
Thee the spear shall not find!
Thee the sword shall not slay!
Thee the shaft shall not pierce!
Thou, therefore, be fearless and fierce
And sail with thy warriors away
To the lands of the Gall,
There to slaughter and sway,
And be victor o’er all!"

So Dathy he sailed away, away
Over the deep resounding sea;
Sailed with his hosts in armor gray
Over the deep resounding sea,
Many a night and many a day;
And many an islet conquered he,
He and his hosts in armor gray.
And the billow drowned him not,
And the fetter bound him not,
And the blue spear found him not,
And the red sword slew him not,
And the swift shaft knew him not,
And the foe o’erthrew him not.

Till one bright morn, at the base
Of the Alps, in rich Ausonia’s regions.
His men stood marshalled face to face
With the mighty Roman legions.
Noble foes!
Christian and heathen stood there among those.
Resolute all to overcome,
Or die for the eagles of ancient Rome!

When, behold! from a temple anear
Came forth an aged priest-like man
Of a countenance meek and clear;
Who, turning to Eire’s Ceann,
Spake him as thus: "King Dathy, hear!
Thee would I warn!
Retreat, retire: repent in time
The invader’s crime.
Or better for thee thou hadst never been born!"
But Dathy replied: "False Nazarene!
Dost thou, then, menace Dathy, thou?
And dreamest thou that he will bow
To one unknown, to one so mean,
So powerless as a priest must be?
He scorns alike thy threats and thee!
On, on, my men, to victory!"

And, with loud shouts for Eire’s King,
The Irish rush to meet the foe,
And falchions clash and bucklers ring, -
When, lo!
Lo! a mighty earthquake shock!
And the cleft plains reel and rock;
Clouds of darkness pall the skies;
Thunder crashes,
Lightning flashes,
And in an instant Dathy lies
On the earth, a mass of blackened ashes!
Then, mournfully and dolefully.
The Irish warriors sailed away
Over the deep resounding sea.
Till, wearily and mournfully,
They anchored in Eblana’s Bay.
Thus the Seanachies, and Sages
Tell this tale of long-gone ages.

 

Ceann, head, king.
Seanachies, historians

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The Woman of Three Cows (traditional)
 
This ballad, which is of homely cast, was intended as a rebuke to the saucy pride of a woman in humble life who assumed airs of consequence, being the owner of three cows. Its author’s name is unknown, but its age can be determined from the language, as belonging to the early part of the seventeenth century. That it was formerly very popular in Munster may be concluded from the fact that the phrase "Easy, O woman of three cows!" has become a saying in that province on any occasion upon which it is desirable to lower the pretensions of a boastful or consequential person.
 

O woman of three cows, agragh! don’t let your
  tongue thus rattle:
O don’t be saucy, don’t be stiff, because you
  may have cattle.
I’ve seen (and here’s my hand to you, I only say
  what’s true!)
A many a one with twice your stock not half so
  proud as you.

Good luck to you, don’t scorn the poor, and
  don’t be their despiser,
For worldly wealth soon melts away, and cheats
  the very miser.
And death soon strips the proudest wreath from
  haughty human brows:
Then don’t be stiff, and don’t be proud, good
  woman of three cows!

See where Momonia’s heroes lie, proud Owen
  More’s descendants!
’Tis they that won the glorious name and had
  the grand attendants:
If they were forcd to how to fate, as every
  mortal bows,
Can you he proud, can you he stiff, my woman
  of three cows?

The brave sons of the Lord Clare, they left the
  land to mourning,
Mavrone!, for they were banished, with no hope
  of their returning:
Who knows in what abodes of want those
  youths were driven to house?
Yet you can give yourself these airs, O
  woman of three cows!

O think of Donnell of the Ships, the chief whom
  nothing daunted!
See how he fell in distant Spain, unchronicled,
  unchanted.
He sleeps, the great O’Sullivan, whom thunder
  cannot rouse:

Then ask yourself, should you be proud, good
 woman of three cows!

O’Ruark, Maguire, those souls of fire whose
  names are shrined in story,
Think how their high achievements once made
  Erin’s greatest glory;
Yet now their bones lie mouldering under weeds
  and cypress boughs,
And so, for all your pride, will yours, O
  woman of three cows!

The O’Carrolls, also, famed when fame was only
  for the boldest,
Rest in forgotten sepulchres with Erin’s best and
  oldest;
Yet who so great as they of yore in battle and
  carouse?
Just think of that, and hide your head, good
woman of three cows.

Your neighbor’s poor, and you, it seems, are big
  with vain ideas.
Because, inagh, you’ve got three cows; one
  more, I see, than she has!
That tongue of yours wags more, at times, than
  charity allows:
But if you’re strong, be merciful, great woman
  of three cows!

Avran
Now there you go: you still, of course, keep up
  your scornful bearing;
And I’m too poor to hinder you. But, by the
  cloak I’m wearing,
If I had but four cows myself, even though you
  were my spouse,
I’d thwack you well to cure your pride, my
  woman of three cows!

 

Mavrone: My grief.
Inagh: Forsooth.

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A Farewell to Patrick Sarsfield, Lord Lucan (traditional)

Farewell, O Patrick Sarsfield: may luck be on
  your path!
Your camp is broken up; your work is marred for
  years.
But you go to kindle into flame the King of
  France’s wrath,
Though you leave sick Eire in tears.
(Och, ochone!)

May the white sun and moon rain glory on your
  head,
All hero as you are, and holy man of God!
To you the Saxons owe a many an hour of
  dread
In the land you have often trod.
(Och, ochone!)

The Son of Mary guard you, and bless you to
  the end!
’Tis altered is the time when your legions were
  astir.
When at Cullen you were hailed as a conqueror
  and friend.
And you crossed Narrow-water, near Birr.
(Och, ochone!)

I’ll journey to the north, over mount, moor, and wave:
’Twas there I first beheld, drawn up in file and line,
The brilliant Irish hosts; they were bravest of the
  brave,
But, alas, they scorned to combine.
(Och, ochone!)

I saw the royal Boyne, when his billows flashed
  with blood;
I fought at Graine Og, where a thousand
  horsemen fell;
On the dark empurpled plain of Aughrim, too, I
  stood,
On the plain by Tuberdonny’s well.
(Och, ochone!)

To the heroes of Limerick, the city of the fights,
Be my best blessing borne on the wings of the
  air!
We had card-playing there o’er our camp-fires
  at night.
And the Word of Life too, and prayer.
(Och, ochone!)

But for you, Londonderry, may plague smite
  and slay
Your people, may ruin desolate you stone by
  stone!
Thro’ you there’s many a gallant youth lies
  coffinless to-day.
With the winds for mourners alone.
(Och, ochone!)

I clomb the high hill on a fair summer noon,
And saw the Saxons muster, clad in armor
  blinding-bright:
Oh, rage withheld my hand, or gunsman and   dragoon

Should have supped with Satan that night!
(Och, ochone!)
How many a noble soldier, how many a cavalier
Careered along this road, seven fleeting weeks
 ago.
With silver-hiked sword, with matchlock and
  with spear,
Who now, mavrone! lieth low.
(Och, ochone!)

All hail to thee, Ben Edir! but ah, on thy brow
I see a limping soldier, who battled and who bled
Last year in the cause of the Stuart, though
  now
The worthy is begging his bread.
(Och, ochone!)

And Diarmuid, O Diarmuid! he perished in the
  strife;
His head it was spiked upon a halbert high;
His colors they were trampled; he had no
  chance of life
If the Lord God Himself stood by!
(Och, ochone!)

But most, O my woe! I lament and lament
For the ten valiant heroes who dwell nigh the
  Nore,
And my three blessed brothers; they left me,
  and they went
To the wars, and returned no more.
(Och, ochone!)

On the bridge of the Boyne was our first
  overthrow;
By Slaney the next, for we battled without rest;
The third was at Aughrim. O Eire, thy woe
Is a sword in my bleeding breast.
(Och, ochone!)

Oh, the roof above our heads, it was
  barbarously fired,
While the black Orange guns blazed and
  bellowed around!
And as volley followed volley. Colonel Mitchell
  required.
Whither Lucan still stood his ground?
(Och, ochone!)

But O’Kelly still remains, to defy, and to toil.
He has memories that hell won’t permit him
  to forget.
And a sword that will make the blue blood flow l
  ike oil
Upon many an Aughrim yet!
(Och, ochone!)

And I never shall believe that my fatherland
  can fall,
With the Burkes,, and the Decies, and the son
  of royal James,
And Talbot the captain, and Sarsfield above all.
The beloved of damsels and dames.
(Och, ochone!)

 

 

 

Ben Edir: the beautiful Hill of Howth, near Dublin.
Colonel Mitchelburne, the Governor of Derry, in the Williamite service.
2 The five of the De Burgo or Burke family who were loyal to James II: Lords Clanrickard, Brittas, Bophin, Castleconnell, and Galway. "The son of royal James" is the famous James Fitz James, Duke of Berwick, subsequently Marshal, Duke, and Peer of France.

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The Ruins of Donegal Castle (traditional)

O mournful, O forsaken pile
What desolation dost thou dree!
How tarnished is the beauty that was thine
  erewhile,
Thou mansion of chaste melody.

Demolished lie thy towers and halls;
A dark, unsightly earthen mound
Defaces the pure whiteness of thy shining
  walls.
And solitude doth gird thee round.

Fair fort, thine hour has come at length,
Thine older glory has gone by.
Lo, far beyond thy noble battlements of strength
Thy corner-stones all scattered lie.

Where now, O rival of the gold
Emania, be thy wine-cups all?
Alas, for these thou now hast nothing but
  the cold.
Cold stream that from the heavens doth fall!

Thy clay-choked gateways none can trace
Thou fortress of the once bright doors;
The limestones of thy summit now bestrew
  thy base.
Bestrew the outside of thy floors;

Above thy shattered window-sills
The music that to-day breaks forth
Is but the music of the wild winds of the
  hills,
The wild winds of the stormy north.

What spell o’er came thee, mighty fort,
What fatal fit of slumber strange,
O palace of the wine, O many-gated court!
That thou shouldst undergo this change?

Thou wert, O bright-walled, beaming one
Thou cradle of high deeds and bold!
The Tara of assemblies to the sons of Conn,
Clan Connell’s council-hall of old;

Thou wert a new Emania, thou,
A northern Cruachan in thy might,
A dome like that which stands by Boyne’s
  broad water now.
Thou Erin’s Rome of all delight!

In thee were Ulster’s tributes stored,
And lavished like the flowers in May.
And into thee were Connaught’s thousand
  treasures poured.
Deserted tho’ thou art to-day!

How often from thy turrets high.
Thy purple turrets, have we seen
Long lines of glittering ships, when summer-
  time drew nigh.
With masts and sails of snow-white sheen!

How often seen when gazing round
From thy tall towers, the hunting trains
The blood-enlivening chase, the horseman
  and the hound,
Thou fastness of a hundred plains!

How often to thy banquet bright
We have seen the strong-armed Gaels repair,
And when the feast was over, once again
  unite
For battle, in thy basscourt fair!

Alas for thee, thou fort forlorn;
Alas for thy low, lost estate:
It is my woe of woes, this melancholy morn
To see thee left thus desolate.

O there hath come of Connell’s race
A many and many a gallant chief
Who, if he saw thee now, thou of the once
  glad face.
Could not dissemble his deep grief.

Could Manus of the lofty soul
Behold thee as this day thou art.
Thou of the regal towers! what bitter, bitter
  dole
What agony would rend his heart!

Could Hugh MacHugh’s imaginings

Portray for him the rueful plight.
What anguish, O thou palace of the northern
 kings!
Were his, thro’ many a sleepless night.

Could even the mighty prince whose choice
’Twas to o’erthrow thee, could Hugh Roe
But view thee now, methinks, he would not
  much rejoice
That he had laid thy turrets low.

Oh, who could dream that one like him,
One sprung of such a line as his,
Thou of the embellished walls! would be the
  man to dim
Thy glories by a deed like this?

From Hugh O’Donnell, thine own brave
And far-famed sovereign, came the blow;
By him, thou lonesome castle o’er the Esky’s
  wave!
By him was wrought thine overthrow.

Yet not because he wished thee ill,
Left he thee thus bereaven and void:
The prince of the victorious tribe of Dalach
  still
Loved thee, yea, thee whom he destroyed.

He brought upon thee all this woe.
Thou of the fair-proportioned walls!
Lest thou shouldst ever yield a shelter to
  the foe,
Shouldst house the black ferocious Galls;

Shouldst yet become, in saddest truth,
A Dun-na-Gall, the stranger’s own:
For this cause only, stronghold of the
  Gaelic youth!
Lie thy majestic towers o’erthrown.

It is a drear, a dismal sight,
This of thy ruin and decay,
Now that our kings, and bards, and men of
  mark of might.
Are nameless exiles far away.

Yet better thou shouldst fall, meseems,
By thine own king of many thrones,
Than that the truculent Galls should rear
  around thy streams
Dry mounds, and circles of great stones.

As doth in many a desperate case
The surgeon by the malady,
So hath, O shield and bulwark of great Coffey’s
  race!
Thy royal master done by thee.

The surgeon, if he be but wise,
Examines till he learns and sees
Where lies the fountain of his patient’s health,
  where lies
The germ and root of his disease;

Then cuts away the gangrened part,
That so the sounder may be freed
Ere the disease hath power to reach the
  sufferer’s heart.
And so bring death without remead.

Now thou hast held the patient’s place
And thy disease hath been the foe;
So he, thy surgeon, O proud house of Dalach’s
  race!
Who should he be if not Hugh Roe?

But he, thus fated to destroy
Thy shining walls, will yet restore
And raise thee up anew in beauty and in joy,
So that thou shalt not sorrow more.

By God’s help, he who wrought thy fall
Will reinstate thee yet in pride;
Thy variegated halls shall be rebuilded all,
Thy lofty courts, thy chambers wide.

Yes, thou shalt live again, and see
Thy youth renewed; thou shalt outshine
Thy former self by far, and Hugh shall reign
  in thee.
The Tyrconnellian’s king, and thine.

 

Dun-na-Gall : Fort of the Foreigner.

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Sancta Opera Domini (John Murphy)
Holy are the works of Mary’s blessed Son,
Holy are His mercies unto every one.
Holy is the sun that lighteth heaven;
Holy is the weather, morn and even;
Holy is the wind that woos the flowers;
Holy are the gentle April showers;
Holy is the summer’s cheering glow;
Holy is the rain God sends below.
Holy are all in His abodes of love,
Holy is every Heaven of His above,
Holy is the sun and every star:
Holy is He who sends their light afar.
Holy are the winds that fall and rise;
Holy are the waters and the skies;
Holy is all outspread beneath His eye.
Holy are the birds He formed to fly;
Holy are the hazel woodlands green;
Holy are the vineyards in their sheen:
Holy are the fruits they bear and bring,
Holy is the earth wherefrom they spring.
Holy is the ever-circling Heaven;
Holy is every thought to Jesus given;
Holy is all that He hath made, and sees,
Holy are all His ways and His decrees.
Holy are the ocean strands and floods;
Holy are the dark umbrageous woods;
Holy are the herbs and plants and flowers;
Holy is all creation with her powers;
Holy are the earth’s four-corner bosoms;
Holy are the mossy rocks and blossoms.
Holy is fire that giveth light and cheer;
Holy is all that I have written here.
Holy is the sea’s voice, calm or hoarse.
Holy are the streamlets in their course;
Holy are the healthy moorlands bare,
Holy are the fishes, and the air.
Holy are the Counsel and the Will,
Holy are God’s works, and most pure from ill.
Holy are His laws. His faith and troth;
Holy are His wrath and patience both.
Holy is Heaven with its nine Orders bright.
Holy is Jesus, its great Lord and light:
Holy is Heaven, above all holiness.
Holy is the King the angels bless.
Holy are the saints in Heaven that be;
Holy is the adorable Trinity:
Holy are all high Heaven’s works and words.
Holy is love, the saints’ love and the Lords’!

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Kathaleen Ny-Houlahan (traditional)

Long they pine in weary woe, the nobles of
  our land,
Long they wander to and fro, proscribed,
  alas! and banned;
Feastless, houseless, altarless, they bear the
  exile’s brand;
But their hope is in the coming-to of
  Kathaleen Ny-Houlahan!

Think her not a ghastly hag too hideous to
  be seen.
Call her not unseemly names, our matchless
  Kathaleen!
Young she is, and fair she is, and would be
  crowned a queen,
Were the king’s son at home here with
  Kathaleen Ny-Houlahan!

Sweet and mild would look her face, O none
  so sweet and mild,
Could she crush the foes by whom her beauty
  is reviled;
Woollen plaids would grace herself, and robes
  of silk her child.
If the king’s son were living here with
  Kathaleen Ny-Houlahan!

Sore disgrace it is to see the arbitress
  of thrones
Vassal to a Saxoneen of cold and sapless bones!
Bitter anguish wrings our souls; with heavy
  sighs and groans
We wait the young deliverer of Kathaleen
  Ny-Houlahan!

Let us pray to Him who holds life’s issues in
  His hands,
Him who formed the mighty globe, with all
  its thousand lands;
Girdling them with seas and mountains,
  rivers deep, and strands,
To cast a look of pity upon Kathaleen
  Ny-Houlahan!

He who over sands and waves led Israel
  along.
He who fed with heavenly bread that chosen
  tribe and throng.
He who stood by Moses when his foes were
  fierce and strong, -
May He show forth His might in saving
  Kathaleen Ny-Houlahan!

   

Kathleen Ny-Houlahan: anglice, Catherine O’Holohan, a name by which Ireland was allegorically known.

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Welcome to the Prince (William Heffernan)

Lift up the drooping head,
Meehal Dubh Mac-Giolla Kierin!
Her blood yet boundeth red
Through the myriad veins of Erin.
No, no, she is not dead
Meehal Dubh Mac-Giolla Kierin!
Lo! she redeems
The lost years of bygone ages:
New glory beams
Henceforth on her history’s pages!
Her long penitential night of sorrow
Yields at length before the reddening morrow!
You heard the thunder-shout,
Meehal Dubh Mac-Giolla Kierin!
Saw the lightning streaming out
O’er the purple hills of Erin!
And bide you yet in doubt,
Meehal Dubh Mac-Giolla Kierin?
O doubt no more!
Through Ulidia’s voiceful valleys,
On Shannon’s shore,
PVeedom’s burning spirit rallies.
Earth and Heaven unite in sign and omen,
Bodeful of the downfall of our foemen.

Thurot commands the North,
Meehal Dubh Mac-Giolla Kierin!
Louth sends her heroes forth
To hew down the foes of Erin!
Swords gleam in field and gorth,
Meehal Dubh Mac-Giolla Kierin!
Up, up, my friend!

There’s a glorious goal before us;
Here will we blend
Speech and soul in this grand chorus:
"By the Heaven that gives us one more token,
We will die, or see our shackles broken!"

Charles leaves the Grampian Hills,
Meehal Dubh Mac-Giolla Kierin!
Charles, whose appeal yet thrills
Like a clarion-blast, through Erin.
Charles, he whose image fills
Thy soul, too, Mac-Giolla Kierin!
Ten thousand strong.
His clans move in brilliant order,
Sure that ere long
He will march them o’er the border,
While the dark-haired daughters of the Highlands
Crown with wreaths the Monarch of three islands.

Fill, then, the ale-cup high,
Meehal Dubh Mac-Giolla Kierin!
Fill! the bright hour is nigh
That shall give her own to Erin.
Those who so sadly sigh.
Even as you, Mac-Giolla Kierin,
Henceforth shall sing.
Hark! O’er heathery hill and dell come
Shouts for the King!
Welcome, our deliverer, welcome!
Thousands this glad night, ere turning bedward,
Will with us drink "Victory to Charles Edward!"

   

Meehal Dubh Mac-Giolla Kierin!: Dark Michael M’Gilla Kerin, Prince of Ossory.
Sign and omen: This is an allusion to that well-known atmospherical phenomenon of the “cloud armies,” which is said to have been so common about this period in Scotland.
Gorth: literally means Garden.

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The Song of Gladness (William Heffernan)

It was on a balmy evening, as June was
  departing fast,
That alone, and meditating in grief on the
  times a-past,
I wandered through the gloomsome shades
Of bosky Aherlow,
A wilderness of glens and glades.
When suddenly, a thrilling strain of song
Broke forth upon the air in one incessant
  flow,
Sweeter it seemed to me, (both voice and
  word,)
Than harmony of the harp, or carol of the bird.
For it foretold fair Freedom’s triumph, and
  the doom of Wrong.

The celestial hymns and anthems, that far o’er
  the sounding sea
Come to Erin from the temples of bright-
  bosomed Italy;
The music which from hill and rath
The playful fairy race
Pour on the wandering warrior’s path.
Bewildering him with wonder and delight,
Or the cuckoo’s full note from some green
  sunless place.
Some sunken thicket in a stilly wood.
Had less than that rich melody made mine
  Irish blood
Bound in its veins for ecstasy, or given
  my soul new might!

And while so I stood and listened, behold,
  thousand swarms of bees.
All arrayed in gay gold armor, shone red
  through the dusky trees!
I felt a boding in my soul,
A truthful boding too.
That Erin’s days of gloom and dole
Will soon be but remembered as a dream.
And the olden glory show eclipsed by
  the new.
Where will the Usurper, then be? Banished
  far!
Where his vile hireling henchmen? Slaughtered
  all in war!
For blood shall rill down every hill, and
  blacken every stream.

I am Heffernan of Shronehill: my land mourns
  in thraldom long;
And I see but one sad sight here, the weak
  trampled by the strong.
Yet if to-morrow, underneath
A burial stone I lay.
Clasped in the skeleton arms of death.
And if a pilgrim wind again should waft
Over my noteless grave the song I heard
  to-day,
I would spring up revivified, reborn,
A living soul again, as on my birthday morn.
Ay! even though coffined, over-earthed,
  tombed-in, and epitaphed!

 

Usurper: George I.

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The Dream of John Mac Donnell (John Mac Donnell, Usually Called Mac Donnell Claragh)

I lay in unrest. Old thoughts of pain,
That I struggled in vain to smother,
Like midnight spectres haunted my brain;
Dark fantasies chased each other;
When, lo! a figure - who might it be?
A tall fair figure stood near me!
Who might it be? An unreal Banshee,
Or an angel sent to cheer me?

Though years have rolled since then,
  yet now
My memory thrillingly lingers
On her awful charm, her waxen brow.
Her pale translucent fingers,
Her eyes that mirrored a wonder-world.
Her mien of unearthly mildness.
And her waving raven tresses that curled
To the ground in beautiful wildness.

"Whence comest thou, spirit?” I asked,
  methought,
"Thou art not one of the banished?”
Alas, for me, she answered nought,
But rose aloft and evanished;
And a radiance, like to a glory, beamed
In the light she left behind her.
Long time I wept, and at last, medreamed,
I left my shieling to find her.

And first I turned to the thunderous north,
To Gruagach’s mansion kingly;
Untouching the earth, I then sped forth
To Inver-lough, and the shingly
And shining strand of the fishful Erne,
And thence to Cruachan the golden.
Of whose resplendent palace ye learn
So many a marvel olden.

I saw the Mourna’s billows flow;
I passed the walls of Shenady,
And stood in the hero-thronged Ardroe,
Embosked amid greenwoods shady;
And visited that proud pile that stands
Above the Boyne’s broad waters.
Where Ænghus dwells with his warrior-bands
And the fairest of Ulster’s daughters.

To the halls of Mac Lir, to Creevroe’s height,
To Tara, the glory of Erin,
To the fairy palace that glances bright
On the peak of the blue Cnocfeerin,
I vainly hied. I went west and east;
I travelled seaward and shoreward;
But thus was I greeted at field and at feast:
"Thy way lies onward and forward!"

At last I reached, I wist not how.
The royal towers of Ival,
Which under the cliff’’s gigantic brow
Still rise without a rival.
And here were Thomond’s chieftains all
With armor and swords and lances,
And here sweet music filled the hall,
And damsels charmed with dances.

And here, at length, on a silver throne
Half-seated, half-reclining,
With forehead white as the marble stone,
And garments starrily shining.
And features beyond a poet’s pen,
The sweetest, saddest features,
Appeared before me once again
The fairest of living creatures!

"Draw near, O mortal!" she said with
  a sigh,
"And hear my mournful story.
The guardian spirit of Erin am I,
But dimmed is mine ancient glory.
My priests are banished, my warriors wear
No longer victory’s garland.
And my child, my son, my beloved heir,
Is an exile in a far land."

I heard no more, I saw no more;
The bonds of slumber were broken:
And palace and hero, and river and shore
Had vanished and left no token.
Dissolved was the spell that had bound
  my will
And my fancy thus, for a season.
But a sorrow therefore hangs over me still
Despite the teachings of reason.

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The Sorrows of Innisfail (Geoffrey Keating)

Through the long drear night I lie awake, for
  the sorrows of Innisfail.
My bleeding heart is ready to break; I cannot
  but weep and wail.
O shame and grief and wonder! her sons crouch
  lowly under
The footstool of the paltriest foe
That ever yet hath wrought them woe.

How long, O Mother of light and song, how long
  will they fail to see
That men must be bold, no less than strong, if t
  hey truly will to be free?
They sit but in silent sadness, while wrongs that
  should rouse them to madness,
Wrongs that might wake the very dead,
Are piled on thy devoted head!

Thy castles, thy towers, thy palaces proud, thy
  stately mansions all.
Are held by the knaves who crossed the waves
  to lord it in Brian’s hall.
Britannia, alas! is portress in Cobhthach’s
  golden fortress.
And Ulster’s and Momonia’s lands
Are in the robber stranger’s hands.

The tribe of Eoghan is worn with woe; the O’Donnell reigns no more;
O’Niall’s remains He mouldering low, on Italy’s
  far-off shore;

And the youths of the pleasant valley are
  scattered, and cannot rally.
While foreign despotism unfurls
A flag ’mid hordes of base-born churls.

The chieftains of Naas were valorous lords, but their valor was crushed by craft:
They fell beneath envy’s butcherly dagger, and
  calumny’s poisoned shaft.
A few of their mighty legions yet languish in
  alien regions.
But most of them, the frank, the free.
Were slain through Saxon perfidy.

Ah, lived the princes of Ainy’s plains, and the
  heroes of green Domgole,
And the chiefs of the Mauige, we still might hope to baffle our doom and dole.
Well then might the dastards shiver who herd by
  the blue Bride river!
But ah, those great and glorious men
Shall draw no glaive on earth again!

All-powerful God! look down on the tribes who
  mourn throughout the land.
And raise them some deliverer up, of a strong
  and smiting hand.
Oh! suffer them not to perish, the race Thou
  wert wont to cherish,
But soon avenge their fathers’ graves,
And burst the bonds that keep them slaves!

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Leather Away With The Wattle, O! (Thomas Cotter)

Last night, while stars did glisten
By a hillside near the cove,
I sat awhile to listen
The sweet bird’s pleasant lays of love.
A damsel tall of stature
With golden tresses long and low,
Which, (loveliest sight in Nature!)
Down to the bright green grass did flow,
And breast as fair as snow in air.
Without compare for beauteous show,
Stood near, and sang me sweetly:
"Come, Leather Away with the Wattle, O!”

Her eyebrows dark and slender
Were each bended like a bow;
Her eyes beamed love as tender
As only poets feel and know;
Her face where rose and lily
Were both portrayed in brightest glow,
Her mien so mild and stilly,
All made my full heart overflow!
A tale she told of that Prince bold
Whose crown of gold the Gael doth hold.
I hearkened, all-delighted,
To "Leather Away with the Wattle, O!"

I asked this lovely creature
Was she Flelen famed of yore,
(So like she seemed in feature!)
Whose name will live forevermore;
Or Dierdre, meekest, fairest,
Whom Uisneach’s sons wrought direful woe

Or Cearnaid, richest, rarest,
Who first made mills on water go;
Or Meadhbh the young, of ringlets long?
So sweet her song along did flow,
Her song so rich and charming
Of "Leather Away with the Wattle, O!"

And thus in tones unbroken,
While sweet music filled her eye,
In accents blandly spoken
The damsel warbled this reply:
"Albeit I know and blame not
Your marvellous poetic lore,
You know mine ancient name not,
Tho’ once renowned from shore to shore;
I am Innis famed, of Heroes named,
Forsaken, lost in pain and woe.
But waiting for a chorus
To “Leather Away with the Wattle, O!”

They died in war, for ages.
The brave sons of Art and Eoghan,
Mute are the bards and sages,
And ah, the priests are sad and lone.
But Charles, despising danger,
Shall soon ascend green Eire’s throne,
And drive the Saxon stranger
Afar from hence to seek his own.
Then, full of soul and freed from dole,
Without control the wine shall flow.
And we will sing in chorus:
“Come, Leather Away with the Wattle, O!"

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Lament For Banba (Egan O’Rahilly)
 
The following song, translated from the Irish of O’Doran, refers to a singular atmospherical phenomenon said to be sometimes observed at Blackrock, near Dundalk, at daybreak, by the fishermen of that locality. Many similar narratives are to be met with in the poetry of almost all countries; but O’Doran has endeavored to give the legend a political coloring, of which, I apprehend, readers in general will hardly deem it susceptible.
 

O my land, O my love!
What a woe, and how deep,
Is thy death to my long-mourning soul!
God alone, God above,
Can awake thee from sleep,
Can release thee from bondage and dole!
(Alas, alas, and alas,
For the once proud people of Banba!)

As a tree in its prime,
Which the axe layeth low,
Didst thou fall, O unfortunate land!
Not by time, nor thy crime,
Came the shock and the blow:
They were given by a false felon hand!
(Alas, alas, and alas,
For the once proud people of Banba!)

O my grief of all griefs
Is to see how thy throne
Is usurped, whilst thyself art in thrall!
Other lands have their chiefs,
Have their kings; thou alone
Art a wife, yet a widow withal.
(Alas, alas, and alas.
For the once proud people of Banba!)

The high house of O’Niall
Is gone down to the dust,
The O’Brien is clanless and banned;
And the steel, the red steel,
May no more be the trust
Of the faithful and brave in the land.
(Alas, alas, and alas.
For the once proud people of Banba!)

True, alas! wrong and wrath
Were of old all too rife.
Deeds were done which no good man admires.
And perchance Heaven hath
Chastened us for the strife
And the blood-shedding ways of our sires!
(Alas, alas, and alas.
For the once proud people of Banba!)

But, no more! This our doom.
While our hearts yet are warm,
Let us not oven-weakly deplore;
For the hour soon may loom
When the Lord’s mighty hand
Shall be raised for our rescue once more!
And our grief shall be turned into joy
For the still proud people of Banba!

 

Banba (Banva) was one of the most ancient names given by the Bards to Ireland.

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The Dawning of the Day (O’Doran)  

’Twas a balmy summer morning.
Warm and early,
Such as only June bestows;
Everywhere, the earth adorning.
Dews lay pearly
In the lily-bell and rose.
Up from each green leafy bosk and hollow
Rose the blackbird’s pleasant lay.
And the soft cuckoo was sure to follow.
’Twas the dawning of the day!

Through the perfumed air the golden
Bees flew round me;
Bright fish dazzled from the sea;
Till medreamt some faery olden
World-spell bound me
In a trance of witchery!
Steeds pranced round anon with stateliest housings,
Bearing riders pranked in rich array,
Like flushed revellers after wine-carousings:
’Twas the dawning of the day!

Then a strain of song was chanted,
And the lightly
Floating sea-nymphs drew anear.
Then again the shore seemed haunted
By hosts brightly
Clad, and wielding shield and spear!
Then came battle-shouts, an onward rushing.
Swords, and chariots, and a phantom fray.
Then all vanished. The warm skies were
  blushing
In the dawning of the day!

Cities girt with glorious gardens,
(Whose immortal
Habitants, in robes of light.
Stood, methought, as angel-wardens
Nigh each portal,)
Now arose to daze my sight.
Eden spread around, revived and blooming;
When ... lo! as I gazed, all passed away.
I saw but black rocks and billows looming
In the dim chill dawn of day.

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Dirge for The O’Sullivan Beare

In Ivera there is darkness,
(Darkness, darkness;)
In Ivera there is darkness.
And the laughing dancer’s tread.
And joyous music, and the voice of song
Are heard no more; the day it weareth long,
For O’Sullivan lies dead,
Dead in stiffest starkness,
(Stiffest starkness!)

O the false, false traitor Scully,
(Scully, Scully!)
O the false, false traitor Scully!
He who should have helped his chief,
He basely sold him, basely sold the good
Great man to whom he owed his life and blood.
Perfidy beyond belief!
God requite him fully,
(Well and fully.)

O may all earth’s blackest evils,
(Evils, evils,)
O may all earth’s blackest evils
Haunt him on life’s briary path!
May sickness waste him to and thro’ the bone!
And when he stands before God’s judgment throne.
May that just God, in His wrath,
Give him up to devils,
(Up to devils!)

Never will we, O no, never,
(Never, never,)
Never will we, O no, never
Pardon him who thus could sell
His generous chief to death and foul disgrace!
May heaven’s fair light grow black upon his face!
May the burning marl of hell
Be his bed for ever,
(And for ever!)

Didst thou fall by sword and slaughter,
(Slaughter, slaughter.)
Had they slain thee in fair slaughter,
Tho’ thy corpse were one red wound,
I would not weep: but ah, the woe to kill.

To rack, to butcher thee; and, ghastlier still,
Drag thee, like a fish harpooned.
Thro’ the blood-streaked water,
(Thro’ the water!)

And thy headless trunk was buried,
(Buried, buried,)
And thy headless trunk was buried
Distant from thy fathers’ graves;
In no green spot of holy Christian ground
They laid thee, ’neath no consecrated mound.
To a pit, by ruffian slaves,
Wert thou darkly hurried,
(Darkly hurried.)

And they spiked thy head so gory,
(Gory, gory,)
Yes! they spiked thy head so gory,
As thine were a felon’s end,
High, high above the jail. Tempest and rain
Alone shall wave those long black locks again,
Lightning only ever lend
Those dimmed eyes a glory,
(Lend a glory.)

There is keening, there is weeping,
(Weeping, weeping.)
There is keening, there is weeping
Thro’ the once glad haunts of song ;
Ivera’s broken heart is bleeding now;
Funeral gloom has darkened every brow,
And the chill day waxeth long.
For our chief lies sleeping,
(Ever sleeping.)

O thou ocean of blue billows!
(Billows, billows,)
O thou ocean of blue billows!
From Cork harbor to Bearhaven
A curse this blessed night lies on thy flood.
For with its wave is blent the pure heart-blood
Of that chief whose head, whose raven
Locks, the storm-wind pillows.
(Storm-wind pillows!)


Note on page format
This copy of the Irish poems in Guiney’s edition of Mangan (1896) lays out each item in a double-column format, excluding only the introductory remarks and footnotes, where these occur. Neither page numbers nor page-breaks in the original text are reproduced or indicated. Mangans’s notes are given under each (when they occur) while the longer footnotes supplied by Guiney in several instances have been placed directly under the titles of the poems in question.

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