The Spirit of the Nation/The Irish Arms' Bill



My country, alas! we may blush for thee now,
The brand of the slave broadly stamp'd on thy brow!
Unarm'd must thy sons and thy daughters await
The Sassenagh's lust or the Sassenagh's hate.


Through the length and the breadth of thy regions they roam;
Many huts and some halls may be there—but no home;
Rape and Murder cry out "let each door be unbarr'd!
Deliver your arms, and then—stand on your guard!"


For England hath waken'd at length from her trance—
She might knuckle to Russia, and truckle to France—
And, licking the dust from America's feet,
Might vow she had ne'er tasted sugar so sweet.


She could leave her slain thousands, her captives, in pawn,
And Akhbar to lord it o'er Affghanistan,
And firing the village or rifling the ground
Of the poor murder'd peasant—slink off like a hound.


What then? She can massacre wretched Chinese—
Can rob the Ameers of their lands, if she please—
And when Hanover wrings from her duties not due,
She can still vent her wrath, enslav'd Erin, on you!


Thus—but why, belov'd land, longer sport with thy shame?
If my life could wipe out the foul blot from thy fame,
How gladly for thee were this spirit outpoured
On the scaffold, as free as by shot or by sword!


Yet, oh! in fair field, for one soldier-like blow,
To fall in thy cause, or look far for thy foe—
To sleep on thy bosom, down-trodden, with thee,
Or to wave in thy breeze the green flag of the free!


Heaven! to think of the thousands far better than I,
Who for thee, sweetest mother, would joyfully die!
Then to reckon the insult—the rapine—the wrong—
How long, God of love!—God of battles!—how long?