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Lament for the Princes of Tyrone and Tyrconnell (Buried in Rome) (Author: James Clarence Mangan)


  1. O Woman of the Piercing Wail,
    Who mournest o'er yon mound of clay
    With sigh and groan,
    Would God thou wert among the Gael!
    Thou wouldst not then from day to day
    Weep thus alone.
    'Twere long before, around a grave
    In green Tirconnell, one could find
    This loneliness;
    Near where Beann-Boirche's banners wave
    Such grief as thine could ne'er have pined

  2. p.18

  3. Beside the wave, in Donegall,
    In Antrim's glens, or fair Dromore,
    Or Killilee,
    Or where the sunny waters fall,
    At Assaroe, near Erna's shore,
    This could not be.
    On Derry's plains—in rich Drumclieff—
    Throughout Armagh the Great, renowned
    In olden years,
    No day could pass but Woman's grief
    Would rain upon the burial-ground
    Fresh floods of tears!
  4. O, no!—from Shannon, Boyne, and Suir,
    From high Dunluce's castle-walls,
    From Lissadill,
    Would flock alike both rich and poor,
    One wail would rise from Cruachan's halls
    To Tara's hill;
    And some would come from Barrow-side,
    And many a maid would leave her home
    On Leitrim's plains,
    And by melodious Banna's tide,
    And by the Mourne and Erne, to come
    And swell thy strains!
  5. O, horses' hoofs would trample down
    The Mount whereon the martyr-saint2
    Was crucified.
    From glen and hill, from plain and town,
    One loud lament, one thrilling plaint,
    Would echo wide.


    There would not soon be found, I ween
    One foot of ground among those bands
    For museful thought,
    So many shriekers of the keen3
    Would cry aloud, and clap their hands,
    All woe-distraught!
  6. Two princes of the line of Conn
    Sleep in their cells of clay beside
    O'Donnell Roe:
    Three royal youths, alas! are gone,
    Who lived for Erin's weal, but died
    For Erin's woe!
    Ah! could the men of Ireland read
    The names these noteless burial-stones
    Display to view,
    Their wounded hearts afresh would bleed,
    Their tears gush forth again, their groans
    Resound anew!
  7. The youths whose relics moulder here
    Were sprung from Hugh, high Prince and Lord
    Of Aileach's land.
    Thy noble brothers, justly dear,
    Thy nephew, long to be deplored
    By Ulster's bands.
    Theirs were not souls wherein dull Time
    Could domicile Decay or house
    They passed from earth ere Manhood's prime,
    Ere years had power to dim their brows
    Or chill their blood.

  8. p.20

  9. And who can marvel o'er thy grief,
    Or who can blame thy flowing tears,
    That knows their source?
    O'Donnell, Dunnasava's chief,
    Cut off amid his vernal years,
    Lies here a corse
    Beside his brother Cathbar, whom
    Tirconnell of the Helmets mourns
    In deep despair—
    For valour, truth, and comely bloom,
    For all that greatens and adorns,
    A peerless pair.
  10. O, had these twain, and he, the third,
    The Lord of Mourne, O'Niall's son,
    Their mate in death—
    A prince in look, in deed, and word—
    Had these three heroes yielded on
    The field their breath,
    O, had they fallen on Criffan's plain,
    There would not be a town or clan
    From shore to sea
    But would with shrieks bewail the Slain,
    Or chant aloud the exulting rann4
    Of jubilee!
  11. When high the shout of battle rose,
    On fields where Freedom's torch still burned
    Through Erin's gloom,
    If one, if barely one of those
    Were slain, all Ulster would have mourned
    The hero's doom!


    If at Athboy, where hosts of brave
    Ulidian horsemen sank beneath
    The shock of spears,
    Young Hugh O'Neill had found a grave,
    Long must the North have wept his death
    With heart-wrung tears!
  12. If on the day of Ballach-myre
    The Lord of Mourne had met, thus young,
    A warrior's fate,
    In vain would such as thou desire
    To mourn, alone, the champion sprung
    From Niall the Great!
    No marvel this—for all the Dead,
    Heaped on the field, pile over pile,
    At Mallach-brack,
    Were scarce an eric5 for his head,
    If Death had stayed his footsteps while
    On victory's track!
  13. If on the Day of Hostages
    The fruit had from the parent bough
    Been rudely torn
    In sight of Munster's bands—Mac-Nee's—
    Such blow the blood of Conn, I trow,
    Could ill have borne.
    If on the day of Ballach-boy
    Some arm had laid, by foul surprise,
    The chieftain low,
    Even our victorious shout of joy
    Would soon give place to rueful cries
    And groans of woe!

  14. p.22

  15. If on the day the Saxon host
    Were forced to fly—a day so great
    For Ashanee6
    The Chief had been untimely lost,
    Our conquering troops should moderate
    Their mirthful glee.
    There would not lack on Lifford's day,
    From Galway, from the glens of Boyle,
    From Limerick's towers,
    A marshalled file, a long array
    Of mourners to bedew the soil
    With tears in showers!
  16. If on the day a sterner fate
    Compelled his flight from Athenree,
    His blood had flowed,
    What numbers all disconsolate
    Would come unasked, and share with thee
    Affliction's load!
    If Derry's crimson field had seen
    His life-blood offered up, though 'twere
    On Victory's shrine,
    A thousand cries would swell the keen,
    A thousand voices in despair
    Would echo thine!
  17. Oh, had the fierce Dalcassian swarm
    That bloody night on Fergus' banks,
    But slain our Chief,
    When rose his camp in wild alarm—
    How would the triumph of his ranks
    Be dashed with grief!


    How would the troops of Murbach mourn
    If on the Curlew Mountains' day,
    Which England rued,
    Some Saxon hand had left them lorn,
    By shedding there, amid the fray,
    Their prince's blood!
  18. Red would have been our warriors' eyes
    Had Roderick found on Sligo's field
    A gory grave,
    No Northern Chief would soon arise
    So sage to guide, so strong to shield,
    So swift to save.
    Long would Leith-Cuinn7 have wept if Hugh
    Had met the death he oft had dealt
    Among the foe;
    But, had our Roderick fallen too,
    All Erin must, alas! have felt
    The deadly blow!
  19. What do I say? Ah, woe is me!
    Already we bewail in vain
    Their fatal fall!
    And Erin, once the Great and Free,
    Now vainly mourns her breakless chain,
    And iron thrall!
    Then, daughter of O'Donnell! dry
    Thine overflowing eyes, and turn
    Thy heart aside!
    For Adam's race is born to die,
    And sternly the sepulchral urn
    Mocks human pride!

  20. p.24

  21. Look not, nor sigh, for earthly throne,
    Nor place thy trust in arm of clay—
    But on thy knees
    Uplift thy soul to God alone,
    For all things go their destined way
    As He decrees.
    Embrace the faithful Crucifix,
    And seek the path of pain and prayer
    Thy Saviour trod;
    Nor let thy spirit intermix
    With earthly hope and worldly care
    Its groans to God!
  22. And thou, O mighty Lord! whose ways
    Are far above our feeble minds
    To understand,
    Sustain us in these doleful days,
    And render light the chain that binds
    Our fallen land!
    Look down upon our dreary state,
    And through the ages that may still
    Roll sadly on,
    Watch Thou o'er hapless Erin's fate,
    And shield at least from darker ill
    The blood of Conn!