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THE NATION'S VALENTINE

TO THE LADIES OF IRELAND.

"I see their glorious black eyes shine;
But, gazing on each glowing maid,
My own the burning tear-drop laves
To think such breasts must suckle slaves."

Byron.

I.

Oh, Daughters of Erin! while liberty hovers,
Like the dove of the ark, o'er the flood of our tears,
'Tis yours to brace on the chainmail of your lovers,
And broider gay streamers to float from their spears.


II.

Unsullied and soft as the snow's infant winglets
Is the bosom of her who is muse of our song;
And her melting eyes shine through dark clouds of rich ringlets,
With a soul that to Emmett's first love might belong.


III.

And though scarcely the seraphs that smiling watch o'er her,
More fondly—more truly can love in the skies,
Yet not her's is the wish to behold her adorer
Forget his land's wrongs in the light of her eyes.


IV.

Yes! thine is the fire that, now sacredly glowing,
Impels my wrapt soul to bright liberty's shrine,
The wave was congeal'd till thy breath set it flowing—
God gave the lyre, but to tune it was thine.


V.

Oh, woman! our load-star, whose worship for ever,
Gives strength to the sword—inspiration to song—
The hour thou wilt aid thine own fetters to sever,
Not earth's banded tyrants our thrall can prolong.


VI.

Withdraw, then, thy presence from pleasure's gay bowers,
And smile but on him who braves danger and toil.
Thus beauty and virtue, asserting their powers,
Shall more than atone for the false Devorghoil.


VII.

Irresistible loveliness! wouldst thou but cherish
The patriot virtues, at once we are free;
But desert thou, or shrink, and as surely we perish—
For man takes the tone of his spirit from thee.


VIII.

Then, oh! if you'd teach us once more to recover
The glory that erst shed its light on thy brow,
Rend away from your lutes the soft strings of the lover,
And sing us no songs but of Fatherland now.


IX.

A spirit is moving in light o'er the waters,
And he shouts through the stormy applause of the waves,
"How long, beloved land, shall thy glorious daughters
Be consorts or mothers of spiritless slaves?"


X.

Oh, rock-girdled Freedom! adored by the Roman,
In woman's dear form descend on our fanes,
And the mountains shall dance at the fall of the foeman,
To earth's heav'nliest music—the breaking of chains!