The Spirit of the Nation/The Men of Twenty-Five

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The Spirit of the Nation
The Men of Twenty-Five by J. K—— (John Keegan)


Air—"When my Old Cap was New."


Rouse, Erin, rouse, and clap your wings,
Look forth on coming joys;
Wake, Erin's muse, and sweep your strings,
And cheer our "Irish Boys;"
Those "Boys" who'll chase each Saxon drone
From Ireland's recking hive;
Our nation's marrow, blood, and bone,
Our "Men of Twenty-Five."


Our fathers were a noble race,
But mournful was their doom;
They blenched before the cut-throat's face,
They sleep in Slavery's tomb.
"Unhonored sleep"—but we, their sons,
Our rusty chains will rive;
We little dread their whips and guns,
We're "Men of Twenty-five."


The Saxons say we thirst for blood,[2]
The villains base, they lie;
But if they're in a fighting mood,
Why—let them come and try.
But Britain's Lion couchant crawls,
Exhausted, though alive,
He wants, behind his "Wooden Walls,"
The "Men of Twenty-five."


Then, brothers, wake—you are awake—
Then up—from vale and hill—
For Liberty, for Ireland's sake,
Sustain the "green flag" still;
And ere your years are "twenty-six,"
As sure as God's alive,
Bright Victory's sun his beams will fix
On th' "Men of Twenty-five."


And when our gallant-hearted band
Down life's calm noon-tide run,
We'll smile upon that happy land
Our youthful vigour won.
And when our heads are old and grey,
If, haply, we survive,
"He was," our sons shall proudly say,
"A Man of Twenty-five!"

  1. "A New Race, a new spring of sentiments has grown up amongst the Irish people during the last ten years, and have spread themselves over the land, and evidently displaced the timid, cautious class, whose boyhood was impressed with the terrors of the early portion of the present century. The men of twenty-five have placed in the rere ranks the men of fifty, and they come forward with all the energies and all the courage of their grandfathers—the Volunteers of 1782—to declare that they will not be content with a secondary position for Ireland amongst the nations of the earth."—Extract from the Planet (a Saxon journal), quoted in The Nation of July 29th, 1843.
  2. "The Young Irish Agitators, they are full of the dark vices of Jacobinism. They worship revenge as a virtue. It excites the gloomy character of their souls. They look forward to the slaughter of those they hate as the geatest enjoyment they could experience."—London Morning Post, quoted in The Nation of July 15th.