Denis Florence MacCarthy

(26 May 1817 - 7 April 1882 / Dublin / Ireland)

Ireland’s Vow - Poem by Denis Florence MacCarthy

Come! Liberty, come! we are ripe for thy coming-
Come freshen the hearts where thy rival has trod-
Come, richest and rarest!-come, purest and fairest!-
Come, daughter of Science!-come, gift of the God!

Long, long have we sighed for thee, coyest of maidens-
Long, long have we worshipped thee, queen of the brave!
Steadily sought for thee, readily fought for thee,
Purpled the scaffold and glutted the grave!

On went the fight through the cycle of ages,
Never our battle-cry ceasing the while;
Forward, ye valiant ones! onward, battalioned ones!
Strike for your Erin, your own darling isle!

Still in the ranks are we, struggling with eagerness,
Still in the battle for Freedom are we!
Words may avail in it-swords if they fail in it,
What matters the weapon, if only we're free?

Oh! we are pledged in the face of the universe,
Never to falter and never to swerve;
Toil for it!-bleed for it!-if there be need for it,
Stretch every sinew and strain every nerve!

Traitors and cowards our names shall be ever,
If for a moment we turn from the chase;
For ages exhibited, scoffed at, and gibbeted,
As emblems of all that was servile and base!

Irishmen! Irishmen! think what is Liberty,
Fountain of all that is valued and dear,
Peace and security, knowledge and purity,
Hope for hereafter and happiness here.

Nourish it, treasure it deep in your inner heart-
Think of it ever by night and by day;
Pray for it!-sigh for it!-work for it!-die for it!-
What is this life and dear freedom away?

List! scarce a sound can be heard in our thoroughfares-
Look! scarce a ship can be seen on our streams;
Heart-crushed and desolate, spell-bound, irresolute,
Ireland but lives in the bygone of dreams!

Irishmen! if we be true to our promises,
Nerving our souls for more fortunate hours,
Life's choicest blessings, love's fond caressings,
Peace, home, and happiness, all shall be ours!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 27, 2010

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