Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Downfall of the Gael (Author: Samuel Ferguson)


O'Gnive, bard of O'Neill

  1. My heart is in woe,
    And my soul deep in trouble, —
    For the mighty are low,
    And abased are the noble:
  2. The Sons of the Gael
    Are in exile and mourning,
    Worn, weary and pale
    As spent pilgrims returning;
  3. Or men who, in flight
    From the field of disaster,
    Beseech the black night
    On their flight to fall faster;
  4. Or seamen aghast
    When their planks gape asunder,
    And the waves fierce and fast
    Tumble through in hoarse thunder;

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  6. Or men whom we see
    That have got their death-omen, —
    Such wretches are we
    In the chains of our foemen!
  7. Our courage is fear,
    Our nobility vileness,
    Our hope is despair,
    And our comeliness foulness.
  8. There is mist on our heads,
    And a cloud chill and hoary
    Of black sorrow, sheds
    An eclipse on our glory.
  9. From the Boyne to the Linn
    Has the mandate been given,
    That the children of Finn
    From their country be driven.
  10. That the sons of the king —
    Oh, the treason and malice! —
    Shall no more ride the ring
    In their own native valleys;
  11. No more shall repair
    Where the hill foxes tarry,
    Nor forth to the air
    Fling the hawk at her quarry:
  12. For the plain shall be broke
    By the share of the stranger,
    And the stone-mason's stroke
    Tell the woods of their danger;

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  14. The green hills and shore
    Be with white keeps disfigured,
    And the Mote of Rathmore
    Be the Saxon churl's haggard!
  15. The land of the lakes
    Shall no more know the prospect
    Of valleys and brakes —
    So transformed is her aspect!
  16. The Gael cannot tell,
    In the uprooted wild-wood
    And the red ridgy dell,
    The old nurse of his childhood:
  17. The nurse of his youth
    Is in doubt as she views him,
    If the wan wretch, in truth,
    Be the child of her bosom.
  18. We starve by the board,
    And we thirst amid wassail —
    For the guest is the lord,
    And the host is the vassal!
  19. Through the woods let us roam,
    Through the wastes wild and barren;
    We are strangers at home!
    We are exiles in Erin!
  20. And Erin's a bark
    O'er the wide waters driven!
    And the tempest howls dark,
    And her side planks are riven!

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  22. And in billows of might
    Swell the Saxon before her, —
    Unite, oh, unite!
    Or the billows burst o'er her!