Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition

Background details and bibliographic information

The Roman Vision

Author: Unknown

File Description

Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by Beatrix Färber

Funded by University College, Cork and
School of History

1. First draft.

Extent of text: 1850 words


CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of the Department of History, University College, Cork
College Road, Cork, Ireland—


Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: T402570B

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Available with prior consent of the CELT project for purposes of private or academic research and teaching only.


The original Irish text is available in CELT file G402570.


    Manuscript sources for the Irish original
  1. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 23 K 36, scribe Muiris Mac Thaly, 1704.
  2. Maynooth, Russell Library, M 86, scribe Aodh Buidhe mac Cruitín, 1714.
  3. Dublin, Trinity College Library, H 4 19, scribe Aodh Ó Dálaigh, 1742–46. In this MS, the poem is attributed to Eoghan Ruadh mac an Bháird.
  4. Dublin, National Library, MS 32, formerly Cheltenham, Phillips 9774 , scribe Proinsias Ó Mulloone, 1747–56.
  5. Dublin, National Library, MS 296, formerly Cheltenham, Phillips 14163, scribe Donnchadh Ó Floinn, Ennis, 1763.
  6. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 23 I 20, scribe Tadhg mac Ceártheigh, 1771.
  7. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 23 B 38, scribe Seumas Ó Murchúghadh, 1778.
  8. London, British Library, MS Egerton 155, scribe Fearghal Ó Raghallaigh, 1790–96.
  1. James Hardiman, Irish Minstrelsy, or, Bardic remains of Ireland, with English poetical translations (London 1831) vol. 2, 306–338. [The translation by Henry Grattan Curran is a free rendering. It is also printed in 'Specimens of the early native poetry of Ireland, in English metrical translations', ed. Henry R. Montgomery, new edition, Dublin 1893, 239–247 available on]
  2. The Irish Vision at Rome, ed. by John T. Gilbert, A Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland from 1641 to 1652, Volume 3, 190–196. Available on CELT.
  3. Douglas Hyde, Lia Fáil 4, 195–211.
  4. P. H. Pearse, Songs of the Irish Rebels: Being a Chapter from an Irish Anthology, The Irish Review (Dublin) 3/35 (Jan 1914) 576–581. Available on CELT.
  5. Cecile O'Rahilly (ed.), Five seventeenth-century political poems, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies 1952 (reprinted 1977).
    Secondary literature
  1. R. B. McDowell, 'The problem of religious dissent in Ireland, 1660–1740'. Bulletin, Irish Committee of Historical Sciences 40 (1945).
  2. Jane H. Ohlmeyer (ed.), Ireland from independence to occupation 1641–1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1995).
  3. Joseph T. Leerssen, Mere Irish and Fíor-Ghael: studies in the idea of Irish nationality, its development and literary expression prior to the nineteenth century (Critical Conditions: Field Day Essays, Cork University Press 1996) 248f.
  4. Jane H. Ohlmeyer 'The civil wars in Ireland'. In: John Philipps Kenyon; Jane H. Ohlmeyer (eds.), The civil wars: a military history of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1638–1660 (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1998) 73–102.
  5. Micheál Ó Siochrú, Confederate Ireland 1642–1649: a constitutional and political analysis (Dublin: Four Courts Press 1998).
  6. Jane H. Ohlmeyer (ed.). Political thought in seventeenth-century Ireland: kingdom or colony. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press in association with the Folger Institute, Washington, DC, 2000).
  7. Pádraig Lenihan, Confederate Catholics at War 1641–49, (Cork: Cork University Press 2001).
  8. Michelle O'Riordan, Irish Bardic Poetry and Rhetorical Reality (Cork 2007).
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. P. H. Pearse, Songs of the Irish Rebels: Being a Chapter from an Irish Anthology, XXII The Roman Vision in The Irish Review. vol 3 (January 1914) 576–581


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The present text represents odd pages 577–581 of the published edition.

Editorial Declaration


Text has been proof-read twice.


The electronic text represents the edited text. The introductory text at the start was originally a footnote.


There are no quotations.


The editor's hyphenation has been retained.


div0=the article; div1=the section; div2=the poem; stanzas are marked lg; and metrical lines l. Line-breaks are marked lb/.


Names are not tagged, nor are terms for cultural and social roles.

Canonical References

The n attribute of each text in this corpus carries a unique identifying number for the whole text.

The title of the text is held as the first head element within each text.

div0 is reserved for the text.

Profile Description

Created: By an unknown author. (1650)

Use of language

Language: [EN] The translation is in English.
Language: [GA] One word in the introduction is in Modern Irish.

Revision History

Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: T402570B

The Roman Vision: Author: Unknown



These are two extracts from The Roman Vision, written in 1650 by an unknown poet. In the entire poem there are eighty quatrains and a ceangal. The poet imagines himself upon the graves of the Irish princes (Hugh O'Neill and Rory O'Donnell) in Rome. The spirit of Ireland manifests herself to him, and in impassioned language recalls the heroic struggle of the Irish for freedom and its disastrous issue, under Tudors, Stuarts, and Cromwellians. She dwells lovingly on the figures of Owen Roe O'Neill and the soldier bishop Heber MacMahon. Finally, she promises victory if the Irish only hold together. The savage hatred expressed for the English and for the Protestant sectaries will be understood when it is remembered that the poem was written within a year after Drogheda and Wexford, and that it was intended as a stimulus to the Irish in their stubborn stand against the Cromwellian generals.


  1. I tell a tale and no lying tale,
    With mine own eyes it was clear to me,
    With mine own ears I myself heard it,
    The thing I speak I speak aloud.
  2. One morning that I was alone
    In Rome upon the golden hill of Cephas,
    Stretched upon a flagstone shedding tears,
    Full of grief upon the grave of the Gaels,
  3. Under which were two once generous in gift-giving,
    To whom had been dear the cause that I lamented,
    The mighty Earl of Tyrone of Niall's race
    And O'Donnell of the keen-edged golden blades.
  4. And when I thought to rest me there,
    Behold, I saw from the hill's bare side
    A maid most lovely, with throat of pearly-white,
    Ah, lovelier far than Venus' self,
  5. Or than Minerva in form and shape:
    Most daintily fashioned were her delicate limbs,
    Gold burned in the depth of her hair,
    And there shone a flame through the snow of her cheek.
  6. And on that spot she spake and bade me,
    With sweet voice more melodious than strings,
    To rise up from the heroes' grave—
    Then long she wept as with heart in anguish.

  7. p.579

  8. At length, after all her sad ado,
    She raised a lament most pitiful to hear,
    That would make even hard clerics weep—
    Yea, wring a sigh from the stones, if possible.
  9. And with that outcry she stretched her hands,
    And looking sternly up to the heavens,
    She spake to the King of the Firmament,
    Full of reproach, in these words:
  10. Mighty God, wilt Thou deign to hear me,
    And may I ask Thee one little question
    That hath baffled all the sons of learning—
    May I ask Thee, for to Thee 'tis clear?
  11. Since I am at fault, without knowledge of the subject,
    If everyone must equally expiate
    Original sin which the first man committed,
    Adam our father, deceived by Eve,
  12. Why, then, is the penalty exacted
    From one race more than another?
    Why is every unjust churl made free,
    And every freeman made a slave?
  13. Why are the poor crucified though crimeless,
    While the tribe of sinners enjoyeth the world's goods?
    Why are not heretics extirpated
    Tho' stubbornly they hunt down true believers?
  14. Why is not Clann Luther flayed,
    While Christ's clan is persecuted unto death?
    Why no pity for the lambs that are torn,
    While the wolves harry the flock?
  15. With what justice is Ireland overthrown,
    And her cry scarcely listened to?
    Why are not the Gaels exalted,
    A race that never denied homage to the Creator?

  16. p.581

    {Prophecy }
  17. No man shall be bound unto England
    Nor hold friendship with dour Scotsmen;
    There shall be no place in lreland for outlanders,
    And no recognition for the English speech.
  18. Victory shall be to the host of thc Gael
    Over Calvin's clan—the trickster, the thief, the liar;
    Their nobles shall triumph over heretics,
    And shout at the routing of Clan Luther.
  19. Their faith shall not fall nor ebb,
    The Church shall teach her flocks,
    Friars, bishops, priests, and clerics—
    And ever after Ireland shall have peace.
  20. I pray God, if He deign to hear me,
    I pray Jesus Who seeth all this,
    And the Holy Ghost again with one will,
    Mother Mary and Patrick White-Tooth,
  21. Kindly Colum and Holy Brigid,
    That they may weld the Gael together,
    And that thus they may compass this deed:
    The banishment of the Gall and the freeing of Ireland.
  22. When the queenly apparition had made an end,
    As I said at the beginning, of these words,
    Quickly she struck her two palms together,
    And with an upward sweep disappeared in the clouds;
  23. And she left me on a flagstone alone,
    Stretched upon the tomb of the Gaels,
    Lifeless, mute, dazed, motionless,
    Full of grief from the terror of her tale.