The Spirit of the Nation/Song of the Penal Days. (Translated)

The Spirit of the Nation
Song of the Penal Days. (Translated) by W—— (Edward Walsh)


Air—"Chreevin evin."

(Translated from the Irish.)


Youthful men and elders hoary,
List ye to the harper's song!
My clarseach weeps my true-love's story
In my true-love's native tongue;
She's bound and bleeding 'neath th' oppressor—
Few her friends and fierce her foe;
And brave hearts cold who would redress her;
Ma chreevin evin, alga O!


My love had riches once and beauty—
Want and wo have pal'd her cheek!
And stalwart hearts for honour's duty—
Now they crouch like craven's sleek!
O Heaven! that e'er this day of rigour
Saw sons of heroes abject low,
And blood and tears thy face disfigure—
Ma chreevin evin, alga O!


I see young virgins on the mountain,
Graceful as the bounding fawn,
With cheeks like heath-flower by the fountain,
Breasts like downy canavàn.[1]
Shall bondsmen share these beauties ample?
Shall their pure bosoms' current flow
To nurse new slaves for them that trample
Ma chreevin evin, alga O!


Around my clarseach's speaking measures
Men like their fathers tall arise—
Their heart the same deep hatred treasures,
I read it in their kindling eyes!
The same proud brow to frown at danger—
The same dark coolin's[2] graceful flow—
The same dear tongue to curse the stranger—
Ma chreevin evin, alga O!


I'd sing ye more but age is stealing
O'er my pulse and tuneful fires;
Far bolder woke my chord appealing
For craven Shemus to your sires.
Arouse to vengeance men of bravery,
For broken oaths—for altars low—
For bonds that bind in bitter slavery—
Ma chreevin evin, alga O!

  1. The cotton plant of the bogs.
  2. The flowing locks of the ancient Irish.