The Spirit of the Nation/Irish War Song, 1843


A. D. 1843.


Bright sun, before whose glorious ray,
Our Pagan fathers bent the knee;
Whose pillar-altars yet can say,
When time was young our sires were free—
Who saw'st our latter days' decree—
Our matrons' tear—our patriots' gore;
We swear before high Heaven and thee,
The Saxon holds us slaves no more!


Our sun-burst on the Roman foe
Flash'd vengeance once in foreign field—
On Clontarf's plain lay scathed low
What power the Sea-kings fierce could wield!
Benburb might say whose cloven shield
'Neath bloody hoofs was trampled o'er;
And, by these memories high, we yield
Our limbs to Saxon chains no more!


The clarseach wild, whose trembling string
Had long the "song of sorrow" spoke,
Shall bid the wild Rosg-Catha[1] sing
The curse and crime of Saxon yoke.
And, by each heart his bondage broke—
Each exile's sigh on distant shore—
Each martyr 'neath the headsman's stroke—
The Saxon holds us slaves no more!


Send the loud war-cry o'er the main—
Your sun-burst to the breezes spread!
That slogan rends the heaven in twain—
The earth reels back beneath your tread!
Ye Saxon despot, hear, and dread—
Thy march o'er patriot hearts is o'er—
That shout hath told—that tramp hath said,
Our country's sons are slaves no more!

  1. Literally the "Eye of Battle," the glorious "incentive to the fight," the war song of the bard, before whose "Sea of Passion" the warriors rushed to death or victory.