The Spirit of the Nation/Young England to Young Ireland
YOUNG ENGLAND TO YOUNG IRELAND.
[The subjoined powerful address was written by an English Puseyite, and may be fairly taken to represent the sentiments of many of that great party. They cannot but sympathise with a people not only oppressed for conscience sake, but for opinions differing little from their own; and it is natural that the sympathy of the young and earnest should exhibit the bold and emphatic spirit which breathes through this poem:—]
Brothers, arise! the hour has come
To strike the blow for truth and God;
Why sit ye folded up and dumb—
Why bending kiss the tyrant's rod?
Is there no hope upon the earth—
No charter in the starry sky?
Has freedom no ennobling worth?
And man no immortality?
Ah, brothers! think ye what ye are!
What glorious work ye have to do,
And how they wait ye near and far
To do the same the wide world through.
The wide world sunk in dreams and death,
With guilt and wrong upon its breast,
Like night-mares choking up its breath,
And murdering all its holy rest?
Bethink ye, how with heart and brain
This God-like work were ablest done;
For man must ne'er go back again
And lose the triumphs he has won.
Ye who have spurned the tyrant's power,
And fought your own great spirits free,
Forget not in this trying hour
The claims of struggling slavery!
The wise and good! oh, where are they
To guide us onward to the Right,
Untruth and specious lies to slay,
And red oppression in its might?
Come forth, my brothers, on with us—
Direct the battle we would give;
By thousands we would die—if thus
The millions yet unborn may live.
For what is death to him who dies
With God's own blessing on his head?
A charter—not a sacrifice—
A life immortal to the dead.
And life itself is only great
When man devotes himself to be
By virtue, thought, and deed, the mate
Of God's own children and the free.
And are we free? O, blot and shame!
That men who for a thousand years
Have battled on through fire and flame,
And nourished with their blood and tears—
Should tamely suffer traitor hands
To dash them into gloom and night,
And bind the very God with bands.
And will ye bear, my brother men,
To see your altars trampled down;
Shall Christ's great heart bleed out again
Beneath the scoffer's spear and frown?
Shall priests proclaim that God is not,
And from the Devil's gospel teach
Those worldly doctrines, unforgot,
Which burning tyrants loved to preach?
Shall traitors to the human right
To God and truth have boundless sway,
And ye not rush into the fight
And wrench the sacred cross away,
And tear the scrolls of freedom, bought
With blood of martyrs and the brave,
From men who with derisive sport
Defy you on the martyr's grave?
The trodden people come at last,
Their fiery souls pent up so long
Burst out in flames all thick and fast;
And thunder-words and lightning-deeds
Strike terror to the Wrong, who flee,
Till lo! at last the wronger bleeds,
And dying, leaves the nation free.