The Spirit of the Nation/The Voice of Tara

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search




O! that my voice could waken the hearts that slumber cold!—
The chiefs that time hath taken, the warrior kings of old—
Oh! for Fingal, the pride of all the gallant Finian crew,
To wave his brand—the fight demand—and blow the Baraboo!


O! for the Clana-Morni, the Clana-Deaġaḋ tall,
Dal-Reada's Knights of glory, who seal'd the Roman Wall!
O! for the darts that smote the hearts of Freedom's foreign foe,
When bloodier grew the fierce Croḃ-Ruaḋ[2] o'er bleak Helvetia's snow!


O! for the battle-axes that smote the pirate Dane!
O! for the firm Dalcassians that fought on Ossory's plain!
And O! for those who wrathful rose the Saxon to withstand,
Till traitor arts and recreant hearts betray'd the patriot band!


Alas! our chiefs of glory will list no minstrel's call—
But, o'er their deathless story, can tyrants fling a pall?
Ye'll ne'er disgrace your ancient race, ye sons of fathers brave,
Arise and burst your bonds accurst—the tomb contains no slave!


Arise ye, now or never—from heaven the martyr'd brave—
Command you to deliver the land they fought to save;
Then swear to die ere despots tie your limbs in bondage chain,
And let the shout ring boldly out o'er listening earth and main.


The fishers of Kilkerran, the men of Greenore bay—
The dwellers by Lough Dergert, and by the broad Lough Neagh—
Leave boat and oar, and leap ashore, to join the fiery ranks
That come in pride from Galtee's side, and from Blackwater's banks.


Where "stubborn Newre" is streaming—where Lee's green valley smiles—
Where kingly Shannon circles his hundred sainted isles,
They list the call—and woe befall the hapless, doomed array
Who'll rouse their wrath in war's red path to strike in freedom's fray.


I see the brave rejoicing—I hear their shouts ascend—
See martyr'd men approving from thrones of brightness bend.
Ye ache my sight, ye visions bright of all our glory won;
The "Battle's Eye"[3] hath found reply—my tuneful task is done.

  1. The original Irish of this song has been preserved in the extensive mountain tract that stretches far into the adjacent counties of Limerick, Cork, and Kerry, between the towns of Newcastle, Abbeyfeale, and Castleisland. I have vainly endeavoured to learn the author's name, but the original bears strong marks of its being the production of a Munster bard of the seventeenth century. I took it down, viva voce, from a Baccach, who moved a very respectable repertory of wool, butter, and antiquarian lore, among the simple dwellers of the glens. He sung it to that very warlike air, vulgarly named "The Poacher," in a kind of recitative, with his eyes closed, as if to shut out exterior objects from his inspired vision, and leaning on the top of his staff, as he swayed his body to and fro to the martial sounds. I have rendered the words as literally as possible, hopeless of preserving the abrupt and striking spirit of the Gælic.
  2. "The bloody hand," the ensign of the Knights of the Red Branch.
  3. The literal English of Rosg-Caṫa, or the "Incentive to Battle"—the war-song of the bard.