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Thomas Osborne Davis

(14 October 1814 - 16 September 1845 / Mallow / Ireland)

A Song For The Irish Militia


AIR--_The Peacock._


I.

The tribune's tongue and poet's pen
May sow the seed in prostrate men;
But 'tis the soldier's sword alone
Can reap the crop so bravely sown!
No more I'll sing nor idly pine,
But train my soul to lead a line--
A soldier's life's the life for me--
A soldier's death, so Ireland's free!


II.

No foe would fear your thunder words,
If 'twere not for your lightning swords--
If tyrants yield when millions pray,
'Tis less they link in war array;
Nor peace itself is safe, but when
The sword is sheathed by fighting men--
A soldier's life's the life for me--
A soldier's death, so Ireland's free!


III.

The rifle brown and sabre bright
Can freely speak and nobly write--
What prophets preached the truth so well
As HOFER, BRIAN, BRUCE, and TELL?
God guard the creed these heroes taught--
That blood-bought Freedom's cheaply bought
A soldier's life's the life for me--
A soldier's death, so Ireland's free!


IV.

Then, welcome be the bivouac,
The hardy stand, and fierce attack,
Where pikes will tame their carbineers,
And rifles thin their bay'neteers,
And every field the island through
Will show 'what Irishmen can do!'
A soldier's life's the life for me--
A soldier's death so Ireland's free!


V.

Yet, 'tis not strength and 'tis not steel
Alone can make the English reel;
But wisdom, working day by day,
Till comes the time for passion's sway--
The patient dint and powder shock,
Can blast an empire like a rock.
A soldier's life's the life for me--
A soldier's death, so Ireland's free!


VI.

The tribune's tongue and poet's pen
May sow the seed in slavish men;
But 'tis the soldier's sword alone
Can reap the harvest when 'tis grown.
No more I'll sing, no more I'll pine,
But train my soul to lead a line--
A soldier's life's the life for me--
A soldier's death, so Ireland's free.

Submitted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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