Gone from us—dead to us—he whom we worshipped so!
Low lies the altar we raised to his name;
Madly his own hand hath shattered and laid it low
Madly his own breath hath blasted his fame.
He whose proud bosom once raged with humanity,
He whose broad forehead was circled with might,
Sunk to a time‐serving, driv’lling inanity
God! Why not spare our loved country the sight?
Was it the gold of the stranger that tempted him?
Ah! we’d have pledged to him body and soul;
Toiled for him—fought for him—starved for him—died for him
Smiled, tho’ our graves were the steps to his goal.
Breathed he one word in his deep, earnest whispering,
Wealth, crown, and kingdom, were laid at his feet;
Raised he his right hand, the millions would round him cling
Hush! ’tis the Sassenach ally you greet.
Leaders have fallen—we wept, but we triumphed, too
Patriot blood never sinks in the sod;
He falls, and the jeers of the nation he bent to sue
Rise like accusing weird spirits to God.
Weep for him—weep for him—deep is the tragedy
Angels themselves now might doubt of God’s truth;
Souls from their bloody graves, shuddering, rise to see
How he avenges their lost, murdered youth.
Tone, and Fitzgerald, and the pale‐brow’d enthusiast—
He whose heart broke, but shrank not from the strife;
Davis, the latest loved—he who in glory passed,
Kindling Hope’s lamp with the chrism of life.
Well may they wail for him—power and might were his
Loved as no mortal was loved in the land
What has he sold them for? Sorrow and shame it is,
Fair words and false from a recreant band.
Time’s shade was on him; what matter? we loved him yet;
Aye, would have torn the veins with our teeth,
Made him a bath of our young blood to pay the debt
Purchased his life, tho’ we bought brough it by death.
Pray for him—pray: an archangel has fallen low;
There’s a throne less in Heaven, there is sorrow on earth.
Weep, angels—laugh, demons! When his hand could strike the blow,
Where shall we seek for truth, honour, or worth?
What though Freedom’s hosts are parted,
Yet, beneath one banner fighting,
Strong in love and hero‐hearted,
All, their Country’s wrongs are righting
With the weapon that each deemeth best to strike oppression down.
And one battle‐cry resoundeth
From your ranks, success presaging;
And one heart within you boundeth
With a martyr’s faith, engaging
Each to bind upon his forehead cypress wreath or laurel crown.
For a power without you urges
That can brook no more delaying,
And the heaving myriad surges,
To and fro in tumult swaying,
Threaten death to all who vainly would oppose them in their might.
Thrilling words, that burn like fire,
Ye have preached to hut and hovel,
Till they leap up in their ire
From the death‐dust where they grovel,
These men of many sufferings, to die or win their right.
Pass the word that bands together
Word of mystic conjuration
And, as fire consumes the heather,
So the young hearts of the nation
Fierce will blaze up, quick and scathing, ’gainst the stranger and the foe.
Hand to hand with them confronted,
Looking death and danger gravely
In the face, with brow undaunted;
Doing nobly, dying bravely,
Stern as men resolved to conquer or to perish in their woe.
For the God‐breath speaketh in you,
Dare ye not belie your mission;
And the beck’ning angels win you
On with many a radiant vision,
Up the thorny path of glory, where the hero gains his crown.
Fling abroad our Country’s banner,
Foremost march to Freedom leading,
Let the breath of millions fan her,
Not alone the wine‐press treading,
For a Nation is arising from her long and ghastly swoon.
Go with lips that dare not falter,
Offer up, with exaltations,
On your country’s holy altar,
Youth, with all its fervid passions,
And your life, if she demands it—Can a patriot fear to die?
What is life that ye should love it
More than manlike deeds of duty?
There’s a glory far above it
Crowns your brow with nobler beauty—
’Tis to die, with cheers heroic, lifting Freedom’s standard high.
Through the darkness and the dunlight,
Of this sorrow‐night of weeping,
Ye shall trail the radiant sunlight,
And, like strong men armed, leaping
Forth to wondrous deeds of glory, make Humanity sublime.
Rising higher still, and higher,
Till the Angel who stands nighest
To the Throne shall tune his lyre
To your praise before the Highest,
And the Crown of Fame Immortal shall be yours throughout all time.
Who Will Show Us Any Good?
Beautiful Ireland! Who will preach to thee?
Souls are waiting for lips to vow;
And outstretched hands, that fain would reach to thee,
Yearn to help, if they knew but how,
To lift the thorn‐wreath off thy brow.
Passionate dreamers have fought and died for thee,
Poets poured forth their lava song;
But dreamer and poet have failed as a guide for thee
Still are unriven the chains of wrong.
Suffering Ireland! Martyr‐Nation!
Blind with tears thick as mountain mist;
Can none amidst all the new generation
Change them to glory, as hills sun‐kissed
Flash lights of opal and amethyst?
Welcome a Hero! A man to lead for us,
Sifting true men from chaff and weeds;
Daring and doing as those who, indeed, for us
Proved their zeal by their life and deeds.
Desolate Ireland! Saddest of mothers,
Waits and weeps in her island home;
But the Western Land—has she help for others
Who feeds her eagles on blood of brothers?
Not with cannon or roll of drum,
Or foreign flag can our triumph come.
Why seek aid from the arm of a stranger?
Trust thy sons, O Mother! for good;
Braver can none be in hours of danger,
Proudly claiming thy rights withstood.
Then, Ireland! wake from thy vain despairing!
Grand the uses of life may be;
Heights can be reached by heroic daring,
Crowns are won by the brave and free,
And Nations create their own destiny.
But, Time and the hour fleet fast unbidden,
A turbid stream over golden sands;
And too often the gold is scattered or hidden,
While we stand by with listless hands.
Then seize the least grain as it glistens and passes,
Swift and sure is that river’s flight:
The glory of morning the bright wave glasses,
But the gold and glory soon fade from sight,
And noon‐tide splendours will change to night.
Ah! life is too brief for languor or quarrel,
Second by second the dead dropp down;
And souls, all eager to strive for the laurel,
Faint and fall ere they win the crown.
Ireland rests mid the rush of progression,
As a frozen ship in a frozen sea;
And the changeless stillness of life’s stagnation,
Is worse than the wildest waves could be,
Rending the rocks eternally.
Then, trumpet‐tongued, to a people sleeping,
Who will speak with magic command,
Bidding them rise—these dead men, keeping
Watch by the dead in a silent land?
Grandly, solemnly, earnestly preaching,
Man’s great gospel of Truth and light;
With lips like saints’ in their love beseeching,
Hands as strong as a prophet’s to smite
The foes to Humanity’s sacred right.
Earth is thrilling with new aspirations,
Rending the fetters that bar and ban;
But we alone of the Christian nations
Fall to the rear in the march of Man.
Alas! can I help? but a nameless singer
Weak the words of a woman to save;
We wait the advent of some light‐bringer,
Strong to roll the stone from the grave,
And summon to life the death‐bound slave.
Down from heights of the Infinite drifting,
Raising the prisoned soul from gloom;
Like the white angels of God uplifting
Seal and stone from the Saviour’s tomb.
Yet, hear me now, for a Nation pleading;
Strike! but with swords yet keener than steel;
Flash on the path the new Age is treading,
As sparks from grooves of the iron wheel,
In star‐flames its onward march reveal.
Work by the shore where our broad ocean rages,
Bridging it over by wraiths of steam;
Linking two worlds by a chain that sages
Forged in the heat of a science dream.
For Nature has stamped us with brand immortal,
Highway of nations our Land must be:
We hold the keys of the Old‐world portal,
We guard the pass of the Western Sea
Ireland, sole in her majesty!
Work! there is work for the thinker and doer,
And glory for all when the goal is won;
So we are true to our Country, or truer
Than Planets are to the central Sun.
Call from the hills our own Irish Eagle,
Spread its plumes on the “The Green” of old;
With a sunrise blaze, as a mantle regal,
Turning the dust‐brown wings to gold
Symbol and flag be it then unrolled!
Face Heaven’s light with as proud a daring,
Tread the heights with a step as grand,
Breast the wild storm with brave hearts unfearing
As kings might do for their rightful land.
Irish daring by land and by river,
Irish wealth from mountain and mine,
Irish courage so strong to deliver,
Irish love as strong to combine
Separate chords in one strain divine;
These are the forces of conquering power,
Chains to sever, if slaves we be;
Then strike in your might, O Men of the hour!
And Ireland springs on the path of the free!
Full seven years have passed and flown
But years o’er Thekla lightly pass,
As rose leaves, falling one by one,
From roses on the summer grass.
“It is our bridal day,” she said;
“We’re bidden to a christ’ning feast
I’ll wear the robe I had when wed,
The robe I love of all the best.
“I’ll wear my crown of jewels rare:
On brow and bosom let them shine;
Yet diamonds in my golden hair
Were dull beside these eyes of mine!”
She laughed aloud before the glass.
“Some women’s hair would turn to grey
With cares, ere half the years did pass
I’ve numbered since my wedding day.
“But they were mothers—fools, I trow.
Life’s current all too quickly runs;
I would not give my beauty now
For all their goodly race of sons.”
She sprang upon her palfrey white,
While Erick held the broidered broiderd rein,
And showered down her veil of light
Upon the flowing, silky mane.
The guests rose up in wonderment
Such beauty never had been seen
And bowed before her as she went,
As if she were a crownéd queen.
The knights pressed round with words of praise,
And murmured homage in her ear,
And swore to serve her all their days,
E’en die for her—would she but hear.
But vainly, all in vain they sought
One answering smile of love to win.
Upon her soul there lieth nought
Save that one only, deadly sin.
“I pray you now I fain would have
So fair an angel hold my child,”
The mother said; and smiling smilling , gave
To Thekla’s arms her infant mild.
Advancing slow, with stately air,
Beside the font she took her place,
The infant, like a rosebud fair,
Nestling amid her bosom’s lace.
She lays it on the bishop’s arm,
The while he makes the blessed sign,
And sains it safe from ghostly harm
By Father, Spirit, Son Divine.
Then reaches out her hands again
To take it—but with moaning sound,
Like one distraught with sudden pain,
Falls pale and fainting to the ground.
“She has no children,” Erick said,
As pleading for the strange mischance;
“This only grief since we were wed
Has saddened sore her life, perchance.”
“She has no children!” murmured low
The happy mothers, gathered near;
“No child to love her—bitter woe;
No child to kiss her on her bier!”
But graver matrons shook the head:
“That witchlike beauty bodes no good;
Witch hands can never hold, ’tis said,
A child just blessed by holy rood.”
They raised her up; she spake no word,
But slowly drooped her tearful eyes;
The rushing wave was all she heard,
The whirling wheels, the infants’ cries.
And Erick said, with bitter smile:
“You play the mother all too ill;
Madonnas do not suit your style.”
Her thoughts were by the lonely mill.
They set her on her palfrey white;
She heeds not all their taunting sneers,
But showers down her veil of light,
To hide the conscious, guilty tears.
They rode through all his vast estate,
But rode in silence—he behind,
Sore pondering on his childless fate,
With ruffled brow and moody mind.
They rode through shadowy forest glades,
By meadows filled with lowing kine,
By streams that ran like silver threads
Down from the dark‐fringed hills of pine.
“Alas!” he thought, “no child of mine
When I am dead shall take my place;
Must all the wealth of all my line
Pass to a hated kinsman’s race?
“Now, by my sword, I’d give up all,
Wealth, fame, and glory, all I’ve won,
So that within my father’s hall
Beside me stood a noble son!”
He saw her white veil floating back
Along the twilight gray and still,
Like ghostly shadows on her track
Her thoughts were by the lonely mill.
And now they neared the ancient church,
The ancient church where they were wed!
The moonlight full upon the porch
Shone bright, and Erick raised his head.
O Heaven! There upon the lawn
The palfrey’s shadow stands out clear,
But Thekla’s shadow—it is gone!
Nor form nor floating veil is there.
He spurred his steed with bitter cry:
“Could she have fallen in deathly swoon?”
But no, there, slowly riding by,
He sees her by the bright full moon.
With gesture fierce he seized her rein:
“ Woman or fiend! Look, if you dare,
The palfrey casts a shadow plain,
But yours—O horror!—is not there!”
She gathered close her silken veil,
And wrung her hands, and prayed for grace,
While down from Heaven the calm moon pale
Looked like God’s own accusing face.
He flung aside the broidered rein:
“O woe the day that we were wed!
A witch bride to my arms I’ve ta’en,
Branded by God’s own finger dread.”
She followed, weeping, step by step,
Led by the unseen hand of Fate,
Still keeping in the shadows deep,
Until they reached the castle gate.
He strode across the corridor,
And rolling back upon its ring
The curtain curtan of her chamber door,
He motioned her to enter in.
She laid aside her silken veil,
The golden circlet from her head,
And waited, motionless and pale,
Like one uprisen from the dead.
Could she deny, e’en if she would?
The moonlight wrapped her like a sheet.
And in the accusing light she stood,
As if before God’s judgment‐seat.
Brief were his questions, stern his wrath;
A doom seemed laid on her to tell,
How, with the ring of plighted troth,
Her hand had wrought the murd’rous spell.
How she had marred his ancient line,
And broke the life‐chord that should bless,
And sent the seven fair souls to pine
Back to the shades of nothingness
That so her beauty might not wane,
Her glorious beauty—fatal good;
Yet one she would not lose to gain
The rights of sacred motherhood.
And still she told the tale as cold
The witch‐fire burning in her eyes
As if it were some legend old,
Drawn from a poet’s memories.
He cursed her in his bitter wrath,
He cursed her by her children dead,
He cursed the ring of plighted troth,
He cursed the day when they were wed.
Fierce and more fierce his accents rose:
“Away!” he cried, “false hag of sin:
I see through all this painted gloze
The black and hideous soul within.
“Oh! false and foul, thou art to me
A devil—not a woman fair!
Like coiling snakes I seem to see
Each twisted tress of golden hair.
“I hate thee, as I hate God’s foe.
Forth from my castle halls this night:
I could not breathe the air, if so
Thy poison breath were here to blight.”
She cowered, shivered, spake no word,
But fell before him at his feet,
As if an angel of the Lord
Had smote her at the judgment‐seat.
And on her heart there came at last
The dread, deep consciousness of sin,
That ghastly spectre which had cast
Upon her life this suffering.
And from her hand the gold ring fell
Her wedding ring—and broke in twain;
The fatal ring that wrought the spell,
The accursed ring of love and pain.
The spell seemed broken then: the word
Came, softly breath’d: “Oh, pardon! grace!”
And pleadingly to her dread lord
She lifted up her angel face
With golden tresses all unbound,
Still lovely through her shame and loss,
Around his feet her arms she wound,
As sinner might around the cross.
He dashed her twining hands aside,
He spurned her from him as she knelt.
“O hateful beauty!” Erick cried,
“The source of all thy hellish guilt.
“Pray for a cloud that can eclipse
That long, white streak of moonlight pale.
No word of grace from mortal lips
Can bring a ruined soul from Hell.
“Away! I would not pardon, not
(I swear it by the holy rood)
Unless upon that hated spot
An angel with a lily stood!”
She shuddered in the moonlight pale,
That doomed and banned her from his sight,
Then rose up with a bitter wail,
And fled away into the night!