Thomas Osborne Davis
The Battle Eve Of The Irish Brigade - Poem by Thomas Osborne Davis
THE mess-tent is full, and the glasses are set,
And the gallant Count Thomond is president yet;
The vet’ran arose, like an uplifted lance,
Crying—“Comrades, a health to the monarch of France!”
With bumpers and cheers they have done as he bade
For King Louis is loved by the Irish Brigade.
“A health to King James,” and they bent as they quaffed,
“Here’s to George the Elector,” and fiercely they laughed,
“Good luck to the girls we wooed long ago,
Where Shannon, and Barrow, and Blackwater flow;”
“God prosper Old Ireland,”—you’d think them afraid,
So pale grew the chiefs of the Irish Brigade.
“But surely, that light cannot be from our lamp
And that noise—are they all getting drunk in the camp?”
“Hurrah! boys, the morning of battle is come,
And the generale’s beating on many a drum.”
So they rush from the revel to join the parade:
For the van is the right of the Irish Brigade.
They fought as they revelled, fast, fiery and true,
And, though victors, they left on the field not a few;
And they, who survived, fought and drank as of yore,
But the land of their heart’s hope they never saw more;
For in far foreign fields, from Dunkirk to Belgrade,
Lie the soldiers and chiefs of the Irish Brigade.
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