Open main menu

The Spirit of the Nation/The Rath of Mullaghmast

< The Spirit of the Nation

THE RATH OF MULLAGHMAST.

I.

O'er the Rath of Mullaghmast,
On the solemn midnight blast,
What bleeding spectres pass'd,
With their gash'd breasts bare?
Hast thou heard the fitful wail
That o'erloads the sullen gale,
When the waning moon shines pale
O'er the curs'd ground there?


II.

Hark! hollow moans arise
Thro' the black tempestuous skies,
And curses, strife, and cries,
From the lone Rath swell;
For bloody Sydney, there,
Nightly fills the lurid air
With th' unholy pomp and glare
Of the foul, deep hell.


III.

He scorches up the gale,
With his knights, in fiery mail;
And the banners of the Pale
O'er the red ranks rest.
But a wan and gory band
All apart and silent stand,
And they point th' accusing hand
At that hell-hound's crest!


IV.

Red streamlets, trickling slow,
O'er their clotted cooluns flow,
And still and awful woe
On their pale brows weeps—
Rich bowls bestrew the ground,
And broken harps around,
Whose once enchanting sound
In the bard's blood sleeps.


V.

False Sydney! knighthood's stain,
The trusting brave in vain—
Thy guests—ride o'er the plain
To thy dark cow'rd snare.
Flow'r of Offaly and Leix,
They have come thy board to grace—
Fools! to meet a faithless race
Save with true swords bare.


VI.

While cup and song abound,
The triple lines surround
The clos'd and guarded mound,
In the night's dark noon.
Alas! too brave O'More,
Ere the revelry was o'er
They have spill'd thy young heart's gore,
Snatch'd from love too soon!


VII.

At the feast, unarm'd all,
Priest, bard, and chieftain fall
In the treacherous Saxon's hall,
O'er the bright wine bowl;
And now nightly round the board,
With unsheath'd and reeking sword,
Strides the cruel, felon lord
Of the blood-stain'd soul.


VIII.

Since that hour the clouds that pass'd
O'er the Rath of Mullaghmast,
One tear have never cast
On the gore-dyed sod;
For the shower of crimson rain,
That o'erflow'd that fatal plain,
Cries aloud, and not in vain,
To the most high God.


IX.

Tho' the Saxon snake unfold
At thy feet his scales of gold,
And vow thee love untold,
Trust him not, Green Land;
Touch not with gloveless clasp
A coil'd and deadly asp,
But with strong and guarded grasp
In your steel-clad hand.