George Meredith

(12 February 1828 – 18 May 1909 / Portsmouth, England)

Ireland


Fire in her ashes Ireland feels
And in her veins a glow of heat.
To her the lost old time, appeals
For resurrection, good to greet:
Not as a shape with spectral eyes,
But humanly maternal, young
In all that quickens pride, and wise
To speak the best her bards have sung.

You read her as a land distraught,
Where bitterest rebel passions seethe.
Look with a core of heart in thought,
For so is known the truth beneath.
She came to you a loathing bride,
And it has been no happy bed.
Believe in her as friend, allied
By bonds as close as those who wed.

Her speech is held for hatred's cry;
Her silence tells of treason hid:
Were it her aim to burst the tie,
She sees what iron laws forbid.
Excess of heart obscures from view
A head as keen as yours to count.
Trust her, that she may prove her true
In links whereof is love the fount.

May she not call herself her own?
That is her cry, and thence her spits
Of fury, thence her graceless tone
At justice given in bits and bits.
The limbs once raw with gnawing chains
Will fret at silken when God's beams
Of Freedom beckon o'er the plains
From mounts that show it more than dreams.

She, generous, craves your generous dole;
That will not rouse the crack of doom.
It ends the blundering past control
Simply to give her elbow-room.
Her offspring feels they are a race,
To be a nation is their claim;
Yet stronger bound in your embrace
Than when the tie was but a name.

A nation she, and formed to charm,
With heart for heart and hands all round.
No longer England's broken arm,
Would England know where strength is found.
And strength to-day is England's need;
To-morrow it may be for both
Salvation: heed the portents, heed
The warnings; free the mind from sloth.

Too long the pair have danced in mud,
With no advance from sun to sun.
Ah, what a bounding course of blood
Has England with an Ireland one!
Behold yon shadow cross the downs,
And off away to yeasty seas.
Lightly will fly old rancour's frowns
When solid with high heart stand these.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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