John Boyle O'Reilly

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

The Dead Who Died For Ireland - Poem by John Boyle O'Reilly

The dead who died for Ireland!
Oh, these are living words
To nerve the hearts of patriots —
to steel avenging swords —
They thrill the soul when spoken,
and lowly bend the head
With reverence for the memories
of all our martyred dead.

The dead who died for Ireland —
the noble ones — the best,
Who gave their lives for Motherland,
Who poured upon her breast,
In Freedom's cause, the blood she gave —
Who with their dying breath,
Sent prayers to God to heal her woes —
then sealed their love in death.

The dead who died for Ireland,
How hallowed are their graves!
With all the memories fresh and green,
Oh! how could we be slaves?
How could we patient clang the chain?
How could we fawn and bow?
How could we crouch like mongrels
'neath the keeper's frowning brow?

Be proud, ye men of Ireland!
Be proud of those who died;
Never men o'er all the earth
Had greater cause for pride —
Hope and strive, and league for freedom,
And again the souls will rise
Of the dead who died for Ireland
To cheer you to the prize.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 20, 2012

Poem Edited: Thursday, July 23, 2015

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