The Spirit of the Nation/Western War Song


A.D. 1642.


Lo! Freedom again hath appear'd on our hills,
Already the isle her divinity fills;
The harp wakes—the sword rattles—and kindles the brand—
While the breeze of her wings passes over the land.


From the rock guarded mountains—her cradle and throne—
She moves in her splendour—she moves not alone;
For myriads unsheathing the chain-breaking sword,
Now hail the bright vision long vainly ador'd.


The war's nightly blaze from the mountain shall rise,
And thine Oriflamme, Ruin! stream red to the skies,
Till, numberless, thronging, with torches and swords,
We chase back to ocean these foreigner hordes.


When the foul fetter clanks on the son of the hills,
His frame with the rage of a chaf'd tiger thrills—
With clenched hand, iron sinews, and fiercely knit brow—
Could a harness of adamant baffle him now?


No! thirsting to madness, red vengeance will pass,
Like the cloud's subtle fire, thro' a fortress of brass,
Let cannon blaze round him, or white billows flow,
He will reach, thro' them all, the heart's blood of his foe.


Do'st thou think Connemara's dark fishers can fear
The battle, who nightly thro' hurricane steer—
Who unmoor the frail skiff, from the Pin's barren sod,
To struggle with ocean, the war-horse of God?


From the Giant spar caves; from the stormy Kilkee;
From where Moher frowns over the fathomless sea,
Where the cliffs of Baltard mock the strength of the waves,
And the tempest round Arran indignantly raves;


Shall come forth to combat a fetterless race,
Whom the rocks of the West bear to ocean's embrace—
Whose spirits like tempest, resistless and free,
Proclaim them the terrible sons of the sea.


Not the phalanx of Sparta, for threshold and shrine,
More nobly has battled, my country, than thine;
Our cause is as holy—our bosoms as true—
And Erin may have her Thermopylæ too.