Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
O'Byrne's Bard to the Clans of Wicklow (Author: Samuel Ferguson)


Cir. 1580

  1. God be with the Irish host,
    Never be their battle lost!
    For, in battle, never yet
    Have they basely earned defeat.
  2. Host of armour red and bright,
    May ye fight a valiant fight!
    For the green spot of the earth,
    For the land that gave you birth.
  3. Who in Erin's cause would stand,
    Brothers of the avenging band,
    He must wed immortal quarrel,
    Pain and sweat and bloody peril.
  4. On the mountain bare and steep,
    Snatching short but pleasant sleep,
    Then, ere sunrise, from his eyrie,
    Swooping on the Saxon quarry.

  5. p.42

  6. What although you've fail'd to keep
    Liffey's plain or Tara's steep,
    Cashel's pleasant streams to save,
    Or the meads of Croghan Maev;
  7. Want of conduct lost the town,
    Broke the white-wall'd castle down,
    Moira lost, and old Taltin,
    And let the conquering stranger in.
  8. 'Twas the want of right command,
    Not the lack of heart or hand,
    Left your hills and plains to-day
    'Neath the strong Clan Saxon's sway.
  9. Ah, had heaven never sent
    Discord for our punishment,
    Triumphs few o'er Erin's host
    Had Clan London now to boast!
  10. Woe is me, 'tis God's decree
    Strangers have the victory:
    Irishmen may now be found
    Outlaws upon Irish ground.
  11. Like a wild beast in his den
    Lies the chief by hill and glen,
    While the strangers, proud and savage,
    Criffan's richest valleys ravage.
  12. Woe is me, the foul offence,
    Treachery and violence,
    Done against my people's rights —
    Well may mine be restless nights!

  13. p.43

  14. When old Leinster's sons of fame,
    Heads of many a warlike name,
    Redden their victorious hilts
    On the Gaul, my soul exults.
  15. When the grim Gaul, who have come
    Hither o'er the ocean foam.
    From the fight victorious go,
    Then my heart sinks deadly low.
  16. Bless the blades our warriors draw,
    God be with Clan Ranelagh!
    But my soul is weak for fear,
    Thinking of their danger here.
  17. Have them in Thy holy keeping,
    God be with them lying sleeping,
    God be with them standing fighting,
    Erin's foes in battle smiting!