The Spirit of the Nation/Young Ireland

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For works with similar titles, see Young Ireland.



When comes the day, all hearts to weigh,
If staunch they be or vile,
Shall we forget the sacred debt
We owe our mother isle?
My native heath is green beneath,
My native waters blue;
But crimson red o'er both shall spread,
Ere I am false to you,
Dear land—
Ere I am false to you.


When I behold your mountains bold—
Your noble lakes and streams—
A mingled tide of grief and pride
Within my bosom teems.
I think of all your long, dark thrall—
Your martyrs brave and true;
And dash apart the tears that start
We must not weep for you,
Dear land—
We must not weep for you.


My grandsire died, his home beside;
They seized and hanged him there;
His only crime, in evil time,
Your hallowed green to wear.
Across the main his brothers twain
Were sent to pine and rue;
And still they turn'd, with hearts that burn'd,
In hopeless love to you,
Dear land—
In hopeless love to you.


My boyish ear still clung to hear
Of Erin's pride of yore,
Ere Norman foot had dar'd pollute
Her independent shore.
Of chiefs long dead who rose to head
Some gallant patriot few,
Till all my aim on earth became
To strike one blow for you,
Dear land—
To strike one blow for you.


What path is best your rights to wrest,
Let other heads divine;
By work or word, with voice or sword,
To follow them be mine.
The breast that zeal and hatred steel
No terrors can subdue;
If death should come, that martyrdom
Were sweet, endured for you,
Dear land—
Were sweet, endured for you.