The Spirit of the Nation/Ourselves Alone

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The Spirit of the Nation  (1843) 
Ourselves Alone by Slievegullion (John O'Hagan)






The work that should to-day be wrought
Defer not till to-morrow;
The help that should within be sought,
Scorn from without to borrow.
Old maxims these—yet stout and true—
They speak in trumpet tone,
To do at once what is to do,
And trust ourselves alone.


Too long our Irish hearts we schooled,
In patient hope to bide;
By dreams of English justice fooled,
And English tongues that lied.
That hour of weak delusion's past,
The empty dream has flown:
Our hope and strength, we find at last,
Is in ourselves alone.


Aye! bitter hate, or cold neglect,
Or lukewarm love at best,
Is all we've found, or can expect,
We aliens of the west.
No friend beyond her own green shore,
Can Erin truly own;
Yet stronger is her trust, therefore,
In her brave sons alone.


Remember when our lot was worse—
Sunk, trampled to the dust;
'Twas long our weakness and our curse,
In stranger aid to trust.
And if, at length, we proudly trod
On bigot laws o'erthrown,
Who won that struggle? Under God,
Ourselves—ourselves alone.


Oh, let its memory be enshrined
In Ireland's heart for ever:
It proves a banded people's mind
Must win in just endeavour;
It shows how wicked to despair,
How weak to idly groan—
If ills at others' hands ye bear,
The cure is in your own.


The "foolish word impossible"
At once, for aye disdain;
No power can bar a people's will
A people's right to gain.
Be bold, united, firmly set,
Nor flinch in word or tone—
We'll be a glorious nation yet,