The Spirit of the Nation/The Vision




Where iron rocks tow'r o'er
Th' Atlantic billows' roll,
Prophetic muses bore
The Poet's raptur'd soul;
And Freedom rose in light from the spray.
Behold her swiftly glide,
O'er the strong and reinless tide,
And the surges swelling pride
Round her play!


Sublime the steeds rush on
Till panting next they stand
On the brow of Slieve-na-mon,
In the Sparta of our land;
And the stormy hills are mov'd at the sound.
From Cashel's royal rock
To Benburb is felt the shock,
And the startled eagles flock,
Screaming round.


As she moves along the plain,
Like the march of ocean's wave,
Our martyr'd heroes slain
Rise in armour from the grave,
And they clash their phantom shields on the gale.
The fires of rage and shame
Thro' their visors barred that came,
Wrapt in wild unearthly flame
Hill and vale.


From a throne of trampled crowns,
On a mount of broken chains,
The Aventine goddess frowns
O'er the desolated plains,
Where of old a tyrant's horde ply'd the lash,
She flung her blazon'd shield
On the far-illumin'd field,
And the lofty mountains reeled
With the clash.


Clouds distent with gore
Above her darkly hang—
Lightnings leap before,
Around her thunders clang,
And marshall'd tempests roar like the sea.
Her splendour fills the air,
And the nations, in its glare,
By their broken altars swear
To be free!


Then our iron fetters fall
Like poison weeds around,
And lie inky as a pall
On the stain'd and loathing ground;
And the carrion-birds of heaven o'er them sail.
While the sound of joyful bells
On the laughing zephyr swells
From thy glorious em'ral' dells,


The sounding woods rejoice,
And the waves around thee sing,
And the tones of Freedom's voice
Thro' thy ruin'd turrets ring;
And thy buried monarchs smile from the spheres.
And many a hallow'd name,
That long slept in silent shame,
Now in characters of flame
Bright appears.


Ul-Erin laughs above,
O'er Shannon's wave below,
And songs of joy and love
Swell the melting airs that blow,
Enamour'd ling'ring long near thy shore.
Around dear Freedom's shrine
Thy dewy shamrocks twine,
And resound thy harps divine