John Boyle O'Reilly

(28 June 1844 - 10 August 1890 / Dowth Castle, County Meath)

Erin - Poem by John Boyle O'Reilly

“Come, sing a new song to her here while we listen!'
They cry to her sons who sing;
And one sings: ' Mavourneen, it makes the eyes glisten
To think how the sorrows cling,
Like the clouds on your mountains, wreathing
Their green to a weeping gray! '
And the bard with his passionate breathing
Has no other sweet word to say.

'Come sing a new song!' and their eyes, while they're speaking,
Are dreaming of far-off things;
And their hearts are away for the old words seeking,
Unheeding of him who sings.
But he smiles and sings on, for the sound so slender
Has reached the deep note he knows;
And the heart-poem stirred by the word so tender
Out from the well-spring flows.

And he says in his song: '0 dhtar dheelish! the tearful!
She's ready to laugh when she cries!'
And they sob when they hear: 'Sure she's sad when she's cheerful;
And she smiles with the tears in her eyes!'

And he asks them : What need of new poets to praise her?
Her harpers still sing in the past;
And her first sweet old melodies com fort and raise her
To joys never reached by her last.

What need of new hero, with Brian? or preacher,
With Patrick? or soldier, with Conn?
With her dark Ollamh Fohla, what need of a teacher,
Sage, ruler, and builder in one?

What need of new lovers, with Deirdre and Imer?
With wonders and visions and elves
Sure no need at all has romancer or rhymer,
When the fairies belong to ourselves.

What need of new tongues? O, the Gaelic is clearest,
Like Nature's own voice every word;
'Ahagur! Acushla! SavourneenI' the dearest
The ear of a girl ever heard.

They may talk of new causes! Dhar Dhia .' our old one
Is fresher than ever to-day;
Like Erin's green sod that is steaming to God
The blood it has drunk in the fray.

They have scattered her seed, with her blood and hate in it,
And the harvest has come to her here;
Her crown still remains for the strong heart to win it,
And the hour of acceptance is near.

Through ages of warfare and famine and prison
Her voice and her spirit were free:
But the longest night ends, and her name has uprisen:
The sunburst is red on the sea!

What need of new songs? When his country is singing.
What word has the Poet to say,
But to drink her a toast while the joy-bells are ringing
The dawn of her opening day?
'O Bride of the Sea! may the world know your
As well as it knows your tears!

As your past was for Freedom, so be your hereafter;
And through all your coming years
May no weak race be wronged, and no strong robber feared;
To oppressors grow hateful, to slaves more endeared;
Till the world comes to know that the test of a cause
Is the hatred of tyrants, and Erin's applause!'


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Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 20, 2012



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