The Spirit of the Nation/The Leinster War Song



Bondsmen!—compatriots!—scoff of the stranger,
Grasp the war-torch, and the chain-breaking sword;
Or crouch, like lash'd hounds, at the foreigner's manger,
And lick the red scourge of your Sassenagh lord!


Lo! thy proud chivalry, Leinster, advances!—
Wildly the "Rosg-Catha" swells from the glen—
The dance of thy banners—the flash of thy lances—
Awake Alleluiahs again and again.


Rouse you!—for shame!—from the slumber of ages,
Sons of the murdered, by forest and caves—
Shout like the ocean, when fierce tempest rages,
Rise with the strength of ten millions of waves!


Light your war-brands at the flame of Kildara—
The "Sun-burst" has flapped her green wings on the gale!—
Take down the harp from the ruins of Tara,
And strike forth the march of array'd Innisfail!


Sound a loud hymn; for the gathering Nation,
Surging and murmuring, heaves like the sea—
Sound! and full soon the glad harp-strings' vibration
Shall chime to the chorus of millions made free!


By the crimson Clontarf, and the Liffey's dark waters—
By shore, vale, and stream, with our hearts' blood that runs!—
By Barrow and Boyne, conflagration and slaughter
Shall toss their red plumes in the blaze of our guns!


Ere for life the pale dastard his liberty barters,
Let him pause, for each sod is a patriot's tomb;
And if green are our vales, 'twas the blood of our martyrs
Enrich'd them for aye with that Emerald bloom.


But go, living corse, and kneel down to the stranger
In thy festering cearment of infamy roll'd—
Go! traitor and cow'rd, in our deadliest danger,
Sell country and soul to the Saxon for gold.


Oh! burning reproach!—To such damning prostration
Has the fetter corroded God's image away,
That while curses and groans overwhelm the nation,
The sneering destroyer is hailed on his way!


O'Toole and the Geraldine, Eustace, O'Farrell,
Chiefs who led Leinster to conquest of yore;
O'Byrne, MacMorragh, O'Melachlin, O'Carrol,
Plunket, and Nugent, O'Faly, O'More.


Shall we crouch on the plains where your sharp sabres clashing,
Lit the spring-tide of battle's magnificent flow;
As in midnight's deep gloom, o'er the stormy wave flashing,
The balefires of ruin exultingly glow?


Oh! never, by heaven! the nation hath spoken,
"The foul foreign idol shall bleed on our plains,
If bolts forged in hell by man's might can be broken,
If not we can perish—'The grave has no chains.'"


And sweet for green Erin to fall crush'd and gory,
In some vale shamrock-spangled that honour illumes,
That valour has hallow'd to freedom and glory,
And sleep, like the brave, in the proud "Pass of Plumes."