The Spirit of the Nation/The Gathering of Leinster, 1643

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A.D. 1643.


Serf! with thy fetters o'erladen,
Why crouch you in dastardly woe?
Why weep o'er thy chains like a maiden,
Nor strike for thy manhood a blow?
Not thus would our fathers bemoan us—
When Tyranny raised the lash, then
They practised the "Lex Talionis"
Of Feidlim, and lash'd it again.


For this did they humble the Roman?
And was it, pale Helots, in vain
That Malachy trampled the foeman,
And Brien uprooted the Dane?
Ye Kings of our Isle's olden story,
Bright spirits of demi-god men!
We swear by the graves of your glory
To strike like your children again.


Tho' beside us no more in the trial
The swords of our forefathers wave,
The multiplied soul of O'Nial
Has flash'd through our patriot Brave.
By each rock where our proud heroes slumber,
Each grove where the grey Druid sung,
No foreigners chain shall encumber
The race from such ancestors sprung.


Ye swords of the kingly Temora,
Exalt the bright green of your sod—
The hue of the mantle of Flora—
The Emerald banner of God!
Leave, reaper, the fruits of thy labour—
Spare, huntsman, the prostrated game,
Till the ploughshare is wrought to a sabre
To carve out this plague-spot of shame


Rush down from the mountain, fortalice—
From banquet, and bridal, and bier—
From ruin of cloister, and palace,
Arise! with the torch and the spear!
By the ties and the hopes that we cherish—
The loves and the shrines we adore,
High Heaven may doom us to perish—
But, never to slavery more!