Thomas Osborne Davis

(14 October 1814 - 16 September 1845 / Mallow / Ireland)

We Must Not Fail - Poem by Thomas Osborne Davis


We must not fail, we must not fail,
However fraud or force assail;
By honour, pride, and policy,
By Heaven itself!--we must be free.


Time had already thinned our chain,
Time would have dulled our sense of pain;
By service long, and suppliance vile,
We might have won our owner's smile.


We spurned the thought, our prison burst,
And dared the despot to the worst;
Renewed the strife of centuries,
And flung our banner to the breeze.


We called the ends of earth to view
The gallant deeds we swore to do;
They knew us wronged, they knew us brave,
And all we asked they freely gave.


We took the starving peasant's mite
To aid in winning back his right,
We took the priceless trust of youth;
Their freedom must redeem our truth.


We promised loud, and boasted high,
'To break our country's chains, or die;'
And, should we quail, that country's name
Will be the synonym of shame.


Earth is not deep enough to hide
The coward slave who shrinks aside;
Hell is not hot enough to scathe
The ruffian wretch who breaks his faith.


But--calm, my soul!--we promised true
Her destined work our land shall do;
Thought, courage, patience will prevail!
We shall not fail--we shall not fail!

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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