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Author: Thomas Osborne Davis

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T. W. Rolleston

Electronic edition compiled and proof corrections by Beatrix Färber, Juliette Maffet

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent of text: 860 words


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Text ID Number: E850004-020

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  1. First published in the Nation.
    Other writings by Thomas Davis
  1. Thomas Davis, Essays Literary and Historical, ed. by D. J. O'Donoghue, Dundalk 1914.
  2. Sir Charles Gavan Duffy (ed.), Thomas Davis, the memoirs of an Irish patriot, 1840-1846. 1890. [Reprinted entitled 'Thomas Davis' with an introduction of Brendan Clifford. Millstreet, Aubane Historical Society, 2000.]
  3. Thomas Davis: selections from his prose and poetry. [Edited] with an introduction by T. W. Rolleston. London and Leipzig: T. Fisher Unwin (Every Irishman's Library). 1910. [Published in Dublin by the Talbot press, 1914.]
  4. Thomas Osborne Davis, Literary and historical essays 1846. Reprinted 1998, Washington, DC: Woodstock Books.
  5. Essays of Thomas Davis. New York, Lemma Pub. Corp. 1974, 1914 [Reprint of the 1914 ed. published by W. Tempest, Dundalk, Ireland, under the title 'Essays literary and historical'.]
  6. Thomas Davis: essays and poems, with a centenary memoir, 1845-1945. Dublin, M.H. Gill and Son, 1945. [Foreword by an Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera.]
  7. Angela Clifford, Godless colleges and mixed education in Ireland: extracts from speeches and writings of Thomas Wyse, Daniel O'Connell, Thomas Davis, Charles Gavan Duffy, Frank Hugh O'Donnell and others. Belfast: Athol, 1992.
Thomas Osborne Davis Self-Reliance in , Ed. T. W. Rolleston Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry. The Talbot Press, Dublin and London, ([1910]) page 336–337


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CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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Created: by Thomas Davis (1840s)

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Language: [EN] The text is in English.

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Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: E850004-020

Self-Reliance: Author: Thomas Osborne Davis


  1. THOUGH savage force and subtle schemes,
    And alien rule, through ages lasting,
    Have swept your land like lava streams,
    Its wealth and name and nature blasting;
    Rot not, therefore, in dull despair,
    Nor moan at destiny in far lands!
    Face not your foe with bosom bare,
    Nor hide your chains in pleasure's garlands.
    The wise man arms to combat wrong,
    The brave man clears a den of lions,
    The true man spurns the Helot's song;
    The freeman's friend is Self-Reliance!
  2. Though France that gave your exiles bread,
    Your priests a home, your hopes a station,
    Or that young land where first was spread
    The starry flag of Liberation,—
    Should heed your wrongs some future day,
    And send you voice or sword to plead 'em,
    With helpful love their help repay,
    But trust not even to them for Freedom.
    A Nation freed by foreign aid
    Is but a corpse by wanton science
    Convulsed like life, then flung to fade—
    The life itself is Self-Reliance!
  3. Oh! see your quailing tyrant run
    To courteous lies, and Roman agents,
    His terror, lest Dungannon's sun
    Should rise again with riper radiance.


    Oh! hark the Freeman's welcome cheer,
    And hark your brother sufferers sobbing;
    Oh! mark the universe grow clear,
    Oh! mark your spirit's royal throbbing—
    'Tis Freedom's God that sends such signs,
    As pledges of his blest alliance;
    He gives bright hopes to brave designs,
    And lends his bolts to Self-Reliance!
  4. Then, flung alone, or hand in hand,
    In mirthful hour, or spirit solemn;
    In lowly toil, or high command,
    In social hall, or charging column:
    In tempting wealth, and trying woe,
    In struggling with a mob's dictation;
    In bearing back a foreign foe,
    In training up a troubled nation:
    Still hold to Truth, abound in Love,
    Refusing every base compliance—
    Your Praise within, your Prize above,
    And live and die in SELF-RELIANCE!