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AN ORIGINAL AND NATIONAL POEM IN 
SPENSERIAN STANZA, 


{One iambus of the sixth verse is removed to the eighth.) 


THE 

fast Sarii nf limit 


BY THE 

REV. JAMES O’LEARY, 

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY AND MATHEMATICS, PROFESSOR AT ST COLMAN’s COLLEGE, FERMOY. 


DUBLIN : 

WILLIAM B. KELLY, 8 GRAFTON STREET. 

1865. 




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(3r) 8 cucecov irapa diva 7ro\v(f)\oL(r{3oio 6a\a<r<rr)s. 
7 ToWa 8 ’ eireir aTravevde kicov rjpad' 6 yepatos. 

Ttcreiav Aavaol ip,ci hatcpva crolai fiekecraLv. 

Horn. I/., A . 34-42. 


“ Silent he wandered by the sounding main, 

Till, safe at distance, to his God he prays : 

Avenge thy servant, and the Greeks destroy ! ” 

Pope's Trans . 


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<=> | ■•-> o 

«->X « r_^ 0 > 




INTRODUCTION. 


O the Irish race, of what creed soever, wheresoever found, 
subjects of whatever government, followers of whatever 
avocation, I do — with what welcome I cannot opine — 
inscribe the following Poem. Its hero may be no 
unfit image of the scattered and unlucky people from whom he 
is supposed to have sprung, and, as such, may be acceptable not 
only to those who have wandered, or have wandering friends, from 
Ireland, but also to those who have come and settled in that 
ancient land. 

Every nation has some, so to speak, representative of its 
national life. Of this kind was Arminius to the ancient Germanic 
tribes. Scott has elaborated many characters illustrative of Scot- 
land’s history. England’s glory is painted in the heroes of Shake- 
speare’s pages. In short, some being — historic, traditionary, or 
fictitious — dwells in the national mind, and is thence transferred to 
verse or prose. With the exception of the Irish Exile in “ There 
came to the beach a poor exile of Erin,” I might not name a truth- 
ful character for Ireland. Indeed, such a being is difficult to be 
found or conceived. Were I to assign a cause, I should adduce 
the absence of a grand, unanimous, patriotic feeling, living in the 
minds of aristocracy and yeomanry, permeating the masses, and 
dear to the whole population. 

In Scotland, every man, whether of Glasgow or Edinburgh, 
Highlands or Lowlands, of the Grampian Hills or the Orkney 
Isles, is the representative of, and sacred to, the Scottish nation. 
To nobles and peasants his honour is the honour of themselves 


o — 6 







and their country. No matter with whom the Scotchman may 
come in collision, no matter where he may find himself, he knows 
that he has a national feeling at his back. He loves his country, 
and his country loves him. There is a splendid, developed, and 
harmonious sympathy among all classes. The pride with which 
an Englishman glories in his fatherland is known throughout 
the whole world. No Roman would, with more exultation, say, 
“ Civis Romanus sum” than he, “ Civis Anglicanus sum!' What 
shall I say of the American, the Italian, or the Frenchman ? But 
with the unreservedness, the independence of the Scotchman, or 
the Englishman, or the American, or the Italian, or the French- 
man, does the Irishman profess “ I am an Irishman ? ” Is there 
spread through all Ireland — consecrated by the lapse of ages and 
the usage of generations — cherished by the educated and unedu- 
cated — a noble, national sentiment which views, guards, and 
sanctifies alike the inhabitant of Connaught and Leinster, of 
Munster and Ulster, of Galway, Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Wex- 
ford, Tralee, Ballyshannon, Belfast? If there be, Irishmen would 
not have roamed through the world like Jews. If that national 
bulwark were in Ireland, she would not be as she is, — had it been 
there, she would not have been depopulated. 

There is, however, among all classes, the knowledge that she 
has suffered and is suffering ; and of Ireland, in that respect, the 
Lumneach Bard is the representative. The wars of the Stuarts 
had been over, — the French fleet had ruffled the waters of the 
Shannon too late for the redemption of Ireland, — the sons of 
Erin had marched with banners flying, drums beating, and all 
the honours of war, from the walls of Limerick, and had aban- 
doned Ireland for ever. The Lumneach Bard had chosen not to 
emigrate — had, after witnessing the departure of his warlike com- 
panions, observed England’s means of conciliating the insurrec- 
tionary Celts, and was slowly wandering homeward to die in his 
native country. 


6 i — — o 



THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD. 


I. 

EEP in his soul a festering wound he fed ; 

A spark of life still lit his aged eye ; 

His flowing locks swept round a stately head, 
Scattered and hoar, no more of saffron dye : 
And he did bear the mien that durst defy 
The oppressors ire, the soldiers stroke. 

Of stranded fortune, yet of lineage high, 

Lordly he moved with a large stick of Irish oak, 

A minstrel who had failed to sunder Ireland’s yoke. 

ii. 

In pensive mood he paced Kilmallock hill, 

And to the Shannon’s tide he rolled his eyes — - 
He viewed the land — he stood — he felt the thrill 
Which doth in the proud patriot spirit rise, 

When freedom wooed in fight for ever flies. 

And he did gaze on Limerick’s wide plain, 

That rich and green laugh’d to the skies, 

On beauteous tree-lined ways and fruitful fields of grain, 
On dales and groves, and on the glorious “golden vein !” 



8 THE LAST L UMNEACH BARD. 


hi. 

Then in his soul a wild emotion rose 
Of rankling fury sinking to despair, 

And his proud spirit, harrowed up with woes, 

W ould fain again the brunt of battle dare. 

He pondered o’er his many years of care, 

Chequered and sad — a bootless toil ; 

And he did wail that land, so blithe and fair, 

Would lie robed in the mourning garb of Saxon spoil, 

Its lords, it may be, trammelled never to recoil. 

IV. 

Yet o’er the expanse his eye delighted strayed, 

And still he viewed the plain as ’twere his own ; 

It was his native land, where he had played, 

Child, boy, and youth, to warrior manhood grown. 

There he had tuned his harp with gladdening tone, 

For friends when gathered far and near 
To join the joyous pattern. Of his own 
Dear country he had sung ; and had to all been dear — 

The poor man’s friend, the orphan’s aid, the dancers’ cheer. 

v. 

He knew each hill, each stream, each village gay, 

And loved with the warm pulse of Celtic soul, 

From where the Galtees brown and frowning lay, 

To the loud echoing of the Atlantic’s roll. 

Mong Galtees he had pressed to life’s last goal 
The flying game the peaks between ; 

By Galtees he had roamed to view each knoll 
Snow-crowned to splendid whiteness, or, sweet lovesome scene! 
Rude mountain rocks rise from embroidery of green, 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 


VI. 

Or mark through sheets of light by gorges grim 
The thunder travelling, or o’er Lumneach plain, 

Thence clouds on clouds, a darksome squadron, swim, 
And break, and dash, and rage in harrowing rain. 

And then the hoarse, rough-roaring, rumbling main ! 

Oft had he lingered by the deep ; 

Oft, where the Shannon’s waves rolled with disdain 
On mighty ocean, had he steered his boat to leap 
Bounding o’er breakers — he grew sad, did sigh, and weep ! 

VII. 

Then to the west he gazed towards Kerry’s hills, 

That pillared rose sublime against the main. 

There mists and sombre clouds o’er mountain rills 
On rocky thrones reclined, a gloomy train, 

Which warred with Galtee foes o’er Lumneach plain. 
With minstrel love he loved their fight, 

As they on airy chariots dashed amain, 

And thunder pealed the savage war-note of their might, 
And battling boisterous winds with terror filled the sight. 

VIII. 

Meanwhile he would delight mid nature’s strife 
To see the floods descend, the rivers swell, 

And spread, and pass, and call to youth and life, 

The wealth and verdure which in Lumneach dwell— 

The Mague that kissed that lovely land and fell 
A tribute to the Shannon’s tide ; 

Upon whose banks lay many a velvet dell, 

Full many a rich domain spread out in smiling pride, 

Full many a hamlet with fair groves and glades beside. 


B 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD. 


IX. 

Or he would wander by the lazy Deel, 

A sister stream that whining winds her way 
To where she cheers the dwellers of Rathkeale, 

Or near Askeaton’s walls doth slumbering stray. 

Her little tide unheeded meets the spray 
Of Shannon’s volume, and is lost. 

To Shannon often he had poured a lay — 

Shannon’s clear waves were those which him delighted most, 
Shannon’s grand course nigh cleft the isle from coast to coast. 

x. 

The noblest river of the British shores 
Was lordly Shannon ! Three times halted he 
To eke the treasures of his liquid stores — 

He sate in pride at Allan, Derg, and Ree, 

Then heaving hurled his broad waves like the sea 
Till he did joy at Lumneach’s feet. 

Divided waves were poured in majesty 
Like crystal masses round that ancient, sacred seat — 

How pure and ever fresh their harmless swellings beat ! 

XI. 

Child of the distant north, he rolled along 
With sad and surly brow, long as in strife 
Through bog and marsh he forced his surges’ throng, 

Till he did meet Mononia beauty-rife, 

And billowy-bounded mid her scenes of life ; 

And then he coasted Lumneach plain, 

Where echoed o’er him harp, and flute, and fife, 

And he did lead away a rich commercial train 
To waft with them once more the riches of the main. 


o — — o 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD. 


XII. 

Father of fruitful vales ! Fair beauty's sire ! 

The counties flushed at his approach divine, 

And man stood in amazement to admire 

How nature’s fruits around his bright waves shine — • 

How glades, and winding vales, and rills combine 
To laugh upon his smiling face ! 

’Tis grand from Mary’s tower to mark the line 
By which his limpid waves to Lumneach mansions race, 
And roll with a magnificent and magic grace 

XIII. 

Through their expansions onward. Monarch dread ! 
Who marshals all his billows by Bromore, 

And waives against the main his foamy head, 

And seaward hurls his heavy tide all hoar 
Where yeasty ocean surges sigh or roar, 

And on to Loop doth cleave his way : 

Then hushed time’s waves eternity adore, 

For then the loud, loud ocean, with remorseless sway 
And endless anger, lords resistlessly each rock and bay. 

XIV. 

The grand remembrancer of the great dead — 

The sacred Shannon ! Erewhile his wavy plain 
Had swallowed up, as spoil, the brave who bled, 

Noble warriors for faith and country slain ; 

As, in past times, the victims of the Dane, 

Nine hundred monks, a holy brotherhood : 

These did our bard remember, a sad train, 

Whose glory lived above their noble wreck, whose blood 
Shrieked Ginkle and the Dane in vengeance from the flood. 



1 2 THE LAST L UMNEA CH BARD. 


xv. 

There was a name that roused his inmost soul, 

There was a spot where he had loved to stray, 

There was a charm where Shannon’s waters roll 
And hie endearingly their fairy way, 

There was a thrill where walls war-hallowed lay 
And stood the foes to charge — reel — waive, 

There was a glory by the battled way 
Where dashed, and fell, and mouldering slept the Irish brave, 
Victorious to defend, unbending home to save. 

XVI. 

O Lumneach ! Ireland’s bulwark ! Sarsfi eld’s sword ! 

The glory of the South ! Old Ireland’s hope, 

When round thee swarmed the plundering Saxon hoard ! 
With lords august thy head arose to cope, 

Fair nymph of Shannon ! The vile worms that mope 
In thraldom’s dirt thou spurnedst. — The dust 
Of hearts that swell with glory’s thrill and ope 
In patriotic pulse, thy pride. — Ah ! e’en now crushed 
In valour’s file, the brave mixed with thy clay are hushed. 

XVII. 

For in the pride of king high William came, 

Heading a gathered host from foreign plains, 

And their proud hearts did beat for feats of fame 
To trample and to bind the Celts in chains. 

N o homes spared they, or young, or sex, or fanes ; 

For they were wild to waste with war, 

And race and creed had stifled the remains 
Of nature’s feelings, while the cannon-mounted car 
And lust of death had made hearts quake both near and far. 


O- * n 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 13 


XVIII. 

Then autumn’s sun lit up the gorgeousness 
Of Orange lands in luminous array, 

Then swelled the springs of hate and ruthlessness 
In Saxon foe and Irish runaway, 

Then moved their serried ranks to crown the day 
With Lumneach taken — valour’s price — 

As rise the ravening wolves to crush their prey ; 

But vain their rage ! As vain as Lausun’s base device, 

That dastard oath — “ By Ch 1, roast apples would suffice ! ” 

XIX. 

For there was pride the leaguered walls within, 

For there were souls that blushed to yield or quail ; 

And full, and fell, and loud uprose the din 
Of war and war cries for “ Ould Granuaile !” 

Nor tear did fall, nor moan was heard, nor wail, 

Nor did the soldier shrink in awe. 

Mid forming lines, and buckling on the mail, 

There rushed one wild and warlike deafening huzzah — 

One cheer — one savage whoop for “ Erin Gal Go Brah !” 

xx. 

Lo ! the hot boiling of the Celtic soul 
T o avenge the dead in every face is seen ; 

While massive leaden balls as tempest roll, 

Mark the outpouring of brave Paddies’ spleen ! 

’Gainst might, ’gainst skill, ’gainst hate, ’gainst showy sheen 

Of dreadful and unconquered arms 

The sacred altars levelled with the green— 

Foes, friends, creed, fathers, outrage, home’s and freedom’s charms, 
With quenchless fury fire their souls amid the alarms 


14 THE LAST L UMNEACH BARD . 


XXI. 

Of clattering drums, and tramping armies, and balls 
Lifting up their loud voices ceaselessly. 

Hark ! moulder down the cannon-battered walls ! 

Hark ! breach- — the grave or place of victory ! 

Ah ! wellaway ! in lines and dreadfully 
Dashed thousands of the English spears ; 

But there unchangeably, immovably, 

Stood still pale fiery hosts of Irish volunteers— 

The crash was as of cataracts — and Erin’s cheers 

XXII. 

Rose as the wild wind — and her children rolled 
Across the breach as a volcanic shower — 

And men, and beasts, and blood, and arms, and mould — 

A gloomy mass — did mark their baleful power. 

The sturdy Saxons’ inborn daring, shamed to cower, 

Rolled back athwart the bloody way ; 

Again Celts won, and stood, a blood-washed tower, 

Mong piles of dead, along the carnage-girded way : 

A third time Saxon charged, but then the fight was closed for aye. 

XXIII. 

Loud, wild, and fierce a gathering shrieking came, 

Like lava howling o’er the mountain side, 

Of youth, and age, and haughty stalking dame, 

Where even Amazons would pause to stride, 

And dashed, as avalanche, its valorous tide 
O’er gory paths on Saxon ranks : 

Yet hush ! where lusty heroines bestride, 

The hand of woman cleaves brave knights on Shannon’s banks, 
And works high deeds of fame where steel on helmets clanks. 



THE LAST L UMNEA CH BARD. 1 5 


XXIV. 

And England’s peerless might was rolled aback 
The valiant arms of conquering Celts before, 

From where the steam of fight rose drear and black, 

And smoking screened unsightly scenes of gore ; 

Yet onward through that misty night still bore 
The Celtic tramp o’er heroes crushed, 

Till, battered walls and fray-filled ruins o’er, 

Irish and Saxon blood, a stream promiscuous, gushed, 

Till William’s host, a silent crew, in camp was hushed. 

xxv. 

When tempests rack the surface of the main, 

And whirl on the impatient tide ashore, 

You may, perchance, in some cliff’s nook have lain 
To hear the elements’ commingling roar, 

And view with awe the troubled scene afore — 

The wealth of waves in billows yell, 

And bounding come with foamy banners hoar, 

Waived with the wind, file after file ; each surge doth swell 
Blue gathered mountain mass of ebbing breakers ; fell 

XXVI. 

Then is its sweep, and with electric dash 
Its spray in countless tongues of anger clings 
To every cavern, and each murmuring splash 
Of broken, boiling breakers wildly flings 
Unto the whirlwind snowy foam : so rings 
The roar of war and of the brave, 

So breezes lift King William’s banners’ wings, 

So to the breach in ranks roll billows of the brave, 

So frittered hosts round Lumneach’s walls do vainly rave. 



— — — c 

16 THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD. 

XXVII. 

Ho ! late in Lumneach rose the noble throb 

For Celtic friends, and homes, and altars free. 

Nae fear unnerved, nae sigh, nae scream, nae sob ; 

Nae wight there was but doomed to victory 

Or death — and fortune crowned brave chivalry — 

And now abased through overthrow, 

Those champions who but lately felt the glee 

Of high and reckless pride despising others’ woe, 

F oiled, fameless, and unlaurelled from the contest go ! 

XXVIII. 

There Lumneach bard did battle in the van, 

And many a bold, brave foe cleft he in twain, 

And many a corse he left all still and wan 

In single strife, ’mong lines, ’mong heaps of slain ; 

There led he on the valiant soldier train, 

There urged along the women bold, 

Where English squadrons’ valour stormed in vain, 

And cannons from the English guns as thunder rolled 

Upon the breach of Limerick’s unconquered hold. 

XXIX. 

And when day dies away, and night is come, 

And Saxon blood has glutted Irish ire, 

Mid pealing music and high-sounding drum, 

He and his roaring victor band retire ; 

And in the midst of joyous throngs the fire 

Of minstrelsy sublime ascends, 

And he does grasp and tune his echoing lyre, 

And, while as yet the breach is down and death descends, 

He sings above his dear, but ever dormant friends 


^ — — — A 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD. 


1. 

Ye glorious brave ! we ’ve won the day, 

The spirit of our sires remains, 

Our city glories in the fray, 

Albeit she bled her dearest veins — 

Albeit her sons and maids repose, 

All hushed, all cold, all lifeless too, 

Where their wide wounds and their dead foes 
The turf and thirsting sward bedew. 

2. 

Rejoice, ye Celts ! long streams of light 
Illumine Lumneach, Shannon’s queen ; 

Fair, fascinating, fresh, and bright, 

Doth flush her fairy face, I ween. 

Her valour casts a magic spell 
Around her beauty’s loveliness ; 

Her sons unborn our deeds shall tell — 

Nor die we in forgetfulness ; 

3 - 

For we have foiled a far-famed king, 

And turned his torrent train away — 

We met him high and blustering, 

And plucked his plumes so proud and gay. 
He came a beast, fierce, savage, wild, 

As if on Afric’s sunny shore ; 

He parts a beast, big, bashful, mild, 

Which hints^ on circus miens it wore. 

4 - 

Thus turn each tyrant in disgrace, 

Nor let him crush the free and brave ; 

For Freedom lifts her noble face, 

And Valour swells and thrills to save. 

Fair Limerick for freedom fought, 

And glory crowns her brow, 

Since the fierce force which William brought 
Lies low, and lorn, and worsted now. 


C 


1 8 THE LAST L UMNEA CH BARD. 


5 - 

Aback ! aback the ignoble gang ! 

Let Lumneach’s name be proud and bright ! 
Let Ireland echo how she sprang 
Minerva like to doubtful fight ; 

And let her blot, if there stain, 

From the lost Boyne or from Kinsale, 

Since we have sundered slavery’s chain, 

And shall no more in serfdom wail. 

6 . 

Just as Mononia’s sons in days of yore, 

We joined and swept along amain : 

Our bravery crushed each hostile corps, 

As Brien’s strength had smote the Dane. 
Hurrah ! hurrah ! fair liberty, 

Make every bosom light and gay ! 

And, while we shine in victory, 

Still let us sing, Hurrah ! hurrah ! 


XXX. 

Ah ! little, little dreams or augurs he 
That Ireland’s day will wane in lasting gloom, 

Or that the joy of Lumneach’s victory 
Can be the harbinger of Ireland’s tomb ; 

Or that the hand of luckless, hopeless doom 
Is forging chains for Ireland’s limbs, 

And for brave Lumneach men and maids, by whom 
The breach was won, whose brow a wreath unsullied trims, 
Whose matchless courage William’s fame for ever dims. 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD. 


XXXI. 

But his fine Irish heart swells with a yeast, 

And gladsome throbs for boundless revelry ; 

Emulous to direct the mirthful feast, 

As well as battle or as minstrelsy. 

Now he careers along the battery 
Hemmed in a blithe carousing train ; 

Now sweeps along o’er scenes of victory, 

O’er broken bones and mangled bodies of the slain ; 

Now wanders off to assuage the wounded warrior’s pain. 

XXXII. 

His mother won a famed and stainless name 
F or infelt love to aid the poor and low ; 

From her he took his being, his thought, his frame, 
Likewise a thirst to soften others’ woe ; 

And sad he was to see such dire o’erthrow, 

Though grand the cause in which men fell ! 

Here some inhumed the slaughtered Celt and foe, 
There others steeped in pain did gurgle their death yell, 
Elsewhere he saw the armour to a hillock swell. 

XXXIII. 

Through thick and darksome clouds a pale dim light 
Was glimmered by the moon above the scene ; 

And lurid, mellowed, melting in the night 
The stifling smoke of powder, nigh unseen, 

Which had as clouds all day dimmed Shannon’s queen, 
Led off its shadows from the field. 

There, mid the wreck of war, upon a green, 

He sate, where warriors had fallen, chargers reeled, 

And even yet, thought he, the shocks of battle pealed. 


p O 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 


XXXIV. 

The dead around had joined the dead of yore — 

Their life-blood sank into the self-same clay — 

Their now assembled spirits fluttered o’er 

The spot where won their deeds a crown of bay — 

Their virtue swelled the self-same splendid lay, 

And shone alike to future time. 

Each name was formed into a glorious ray 
Illuming Lumneach, who those decked arose to climb 
And shine a bright star o’er the hills of fame, sublime. 

xxxv. 

Hers was the name that had upraised the note 
Of many a stirring and enchanting strain, 

What time the clansmen rallied, kingly champions smote, 
And neighing chargers tramped the crimson plain — 
What time the chieftains led a war-drilled train 
From every petty princedom’s bounds 
To end — mad means ! their feuds o’er heaps of slain, 

Ere yet the Christian banner waived o’er Tara’s mounds, 
Ere Dane or Saxon Armed their flags o’er Irish grounds. 

i 

XXXVI. 

To Tara’s halls the pride of Erin came, 

At Tara’s halls desert received its place, 

And there amid her high-named sons of fame 
Brave Erin’s bravest was brave DaHais race. 

o 

Whence ye ? What honoured bards or Druids trace 
The story of your splendid name ? 

Oh ye ! whose homes had been by Shannon’s face, 

K inkora’s noble sons ! did not a holy flame 

Light in you, as old Lumneach rose to deathless fame. 


o ; o 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD. 


XXXVII. 

And thou, great Brien ! star of Dalgais line ! 

Heardst thou not the loud warring legions tread 
The dust that wrapped, as in a hallowed shrine, 

The sacred ashes of thy mighty dead ? 

Or while, like plain-illuming lightning spread, 

From rank to rank the war- word wild 
Of “ Brien” — “ death or victory,” o’erhead, 

Nor fled from wrathful foe each Dalgais high-born child, 
Didst thou not feel the rousing memory undeflled 

XXXVIII. 

Which rose from five-and-twenty battles won 
By proud K inkora’s sons of haughty Dane, 

Or say when living tribes to death-fields run, 

Do not the past in spirit live again ? 

Breathes there not mid the slaying and the slain 
The soul of races ? When impelled 
By thoughts of other days to joy or pain, 

Brave Limerick in fight so wild and vengeful yelled, 

Behold old Brien’s soul that rose in her and swelled ! 

xxxix. 

Thomond’s bright lords ! clear lights by glory’s way, 

And furious fires among the sons of fight ! 

Did you not revel on that deathless day, 

When your loved Lumneach thwarted England’s might ? 
Did not your spirits hail to realms of light 
The souls that barked her noble cause, 

And left their mortal shrines for Lumneach’s right, 

For Rome’s eternal faith, for country’s stainless laws, 

For Ireland’s glory, and for Christendom’s applause ? 


22 THE LAST L UMNEACH BARD. 


XL. 

Y e glittering Desmonds, ye brave Giraldines ! 

Did ye not feel the balm for all your woes, 

When the unconquered hand of Celt consigns 
To doom unchangeable your heartless foes ? 

When Celt, clad in the array of battle, shows 
What fiery energy abides 
In the low-trodden tribes where Saxon sows 
Pale Discord’s germs, and rage the slave from slave divides, 
And how Celts’ souls so vengeful burn when war betides ? 

XLI. 

Thou Ulysses of Irish woods and caves ! 

Thou bright Aetius of the Lumneach line ! 

Salathiel o’er valiant warriors’ graves, 

Hector-like, and unflinching Geraldine ! 

Mong spears and dens and ’neath the snow-clad pine 
Thy days. From men and elements 
In league thou drank’st thy woe. Sawest thou the sign 
Of Lumneach’s majesty, when she did vengeance vent, 

And baffled spoilers turned in fury to their tent ? 

XLII. 

What sullen sorrow dunned thy soul of steel, 

As England’s bands thy sleepless wanderings marred, 

And thou didst hear the human bloodhounds peal 
Where the wild waste of wood or bog debarred ! 

Assuredly thy soul had heaven scarred 
With pride, which never knows to flinch, 

Yet poisons and gnaws. What woes won’t wane when parred 
With thine ! Thine it was, weary and forlorn, to minch 
With wolves beneath the elements’ remorseless pinch, 


-o 


o O 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 


XLIII. 

And foully flouted from the face of home, 

T o lurk like fox, a target at the will 
Of Saxon soldiers, when listed they to roam 
In quest of prey ; but oft the hounded hill 
Did bellow back with echoings loud and shrill 
The fire of death in dint of dark, 

Telling mid the dread din what darings fill 
The brave when war commands ’neath fortune to embark, 
And wrathful foes press on as hounds sweep o’er a park. 

XLIV. 

How oft the environs of thy town or fort 
Beheld the horrid implements of war, 

And changed, and faded from the withering sport 
Of man, and rattling steed, and laden car. 

Within the ramparts blazed the red war-star, 

And Celts, a constellation bright, 

Whose scorching rage and anger burned afar. 

Leonidas with Spartan band ne’er joined in fight 
More bravely — never Fabii, Rome’s brightest light ! 

XLV. 

Then did loud peals of war in echo wane 
Around the patriot chief, whose want and wo 
In fatherland and life beyond the main, 

As fairy tale, in Ireland’s story glow, 

And to the brave a proud example show. 

That warrior chief Old Ireland claims, 

Beset by gloom of sorrow and the foe ; 

Still Ireland’s gloom is bright, and brightest of her names 
She boasts wo-smitten, glorious, brave Fitz-Maurice James ! 


O : — Q 


24 THE LAST L UMNEA CH BARD. 


XLVI. 

Ye other great, who left the way of fame 
And fought or fell for Ireland’s weal, 

What joyous feelings on your conclave came, 

What blissful throbs did on your spirits steal, 

As Lumneach’s inmates raised the stirring peal 
Of triumph and forebodings glad ! 

Ha ! once again you could not help to feel 
Soul-rousing thoughts you years and years before had had, 
When Shannon’s queen was hailed in glory’s mantle clad. 

XLVII. 

Thy spirit, Lumneach Bard, that happy night, 

In transport lifted to the choirs of dead, 

Communed with every gone, yet brilliant sprite, 

Who Honour’s light upon thy city shed. 

That night, as ray of consolation fed 
From cinders of departed bliss, 

In thought remains to soothe thy aching head, 

Near sundered with thy lorn lot. Ah ! sad to miss 

The heart’s sole goal ! That scene all joy — all sorrow this ! 

XLVIII. 

This ! where our Bard doth stand to mourn, the while 
His fearless comrades plough the chafing brine, 

As seaman left upon some desert isle 
In which not hope itself can augur sign 
Of scaping rueful days — -to wait and pine 
Disconsolate for the cold grave, 

The thought never, never can resign ! 

Where are the ones he loved, the great undaunted brave ? 
Where those for whom his agonising heart must crave ? 


Q U 


D — . — n 


THE LAST L UMNEACH BARD. 25 


XLIX. 

Where are the models of the future great ? 

Where ye who fought for home on Erin’s plains ? 

Gone ! gone ! and lost to creed, to friends, to state ! 

As when the sun doth vanish night remains, 

So burneth not behind, where Saxon reigns 
And Spoliation lifts his hand, 

One spark of wrath to light in fiery swains 
The fire of vengeance and of battle. Yea ! throughout the land 
There breathes no daring soul to lead a Celtic band. 

L. 

Yet ere Celts left they with their chiefs did meet, 

Hard by a rock where rolls the Shannon’s tide, 

The marshalled host of Britain. There did greet 
Ireland and England’s gathered armies. Pride 
Did vanish — Britain, Ireland should abide 
Two ever-loving sister isles, 

Their fluttering friendly banners splendid ride 
The breezes, the gruff face of Mars be graced with smiles, 

And blood-stained sabres be sheathed long the warring files. 

LI. 

Before the hosts were seen the deputies 
To seal the words of nation and of race — 

Of children then unborn the embassies 
Who might the ills of jarring rights deface. 

There Ireland’s leaders stood the stamp to place 
For fathers, faith, and fatherland, 

Nor dreamt of foe unprincipled and base 
Who slights the sign impressed by treaty’s sacred hand, 

And heeds not ignominy’s black eternal brand. 


6 c 


D 


26 THE LAST L U LINE A CH BARD . 


LIT. 

There did the Saxon generals place their seal ; 

But guile was lurking in the wily soul, 

Which time ere long to Erin would reveal, 

When the far bark would hold o’er ocean’s roll 
Her banished brave, when her heart-rending dole 
Would meet no more the warriors’ ears. 

The Treaty Stone doth tell, though bare, 

Of Urbs Inviolati Foederis brave peers, 

The chronicler of Ireland’s faith through ceaseless years. 

LIII. 

The roaming Celt, O bard, in days to come, 

Shall thereon drop an unavailing tear, 

And, while he sighs his country’s tongue is dumb, 

With throbbing heart her candour shall revere. 

That altar of our fathers’ faith is dear 
To every Irish heart. Fit throne 
For Fabius or Regulus stands here — 

The block of Erin’s martyrdom. Sad, lifeless, lone 
The sprite of Erin sleeps ’neath that sepulchral stone ! 

LIV. 

Oft from the Shannon’s Sparta shall be sent 
A fiery breast to gaze on that rock rude — 

A new Thermopylsean monument, 

Where doth no line, work, figure, sign intrude, 

Yet there is writ with what stern truth imbued 
The minds of Ireland’s sons have been. 

Unhappy sons ! why waste your force in feud 
Of town ’gainst town, and brother ever venting spleen 
’Gainst brother. Join, be loyal, gaze towards Shannon’s queen, 


O : — 9 


THE LAST L UMNEACH BARD . 2 7 


LV. 

And dwell upon the hallowed memory 
Which lives that sacred treaty’s rock around ! 

The light of Ireland’s firm fidelity 
The stranger sees ; but shall a dark profound 
Of treachery brood o’er her sons ? The sound 
Of sorrow rumbles from the Celt ; 

Still rivalry, disunion, hate abound 
Throughout his land of woe. His hopes and yearnings melt 
As smoke. Faith fails. He feels what he has ages felt. 

LVI. 

Such cause, dear Bard, did drive thy band away, 

And bled the hearts that steel had sought in vain. 

It wailed where rocky barriers display 
Their fronting breasts athwart the dashing train 
Of tide from dark, deep, dread Atlantic main. 

Ah ! at Cork harbour’s gate the sigh 
Of heroes fell with the rent bosom’s pain— 

While billows to the land were fastly heaving by, 

Their woe in melancholy moans flowed to the sky. 

Ye waves that kiss our country’s shore ! 

Dash on your spray, be wild your roar, 

Dear Ireland we shall see no more — 

Then murmur on our parting wail ! 

We leave the joys of Irish home, 

We try our fate o’er ocean foam, 

We go in other climes to roam — 

Then murmur on our parting wail ! 

No more we stray the verdant glade, 

No more we hie to balmy shade, 

We seek a grave for our brigade — 

Then murmur on our parting wail ! 


-o 


6 - 


2 8 THE LAST L UMNEA CH BARD. 


2 . 

When our short course has fast flown by, 
And our white bones will scattered lie 
On some wide plain ’neath southern sky, 
Tell ye yon crags our last adieu ; 

If e’er we soar on wings of fame, 

And win, perchance, a deathless name, 
Old Ireland always we will claim, 

And tell yon crags our last adieu : 

We go, we go — the listless gale 
Doth sweep us on — but let our wail 
In your wild murmur never fail, 

And ring yon crags with our adieu ! 


3 - 

With melting hearts our sires we leave, 

For friends behind — oh ! we must grieve : 
Then on the land to which we cleave 
Bear back our tears, ye bounding waves l 
To Erin’s altars where we prayed, 

To Erin’s hamlets where we played, 

To graves where our dear sires are laid, 
Bear back our tears, ye mourning waves 1 
Hie — hie, ye waves ! to greet the land, 
And dole our dirge on fading strand, 
Which o’er your crests cannot be scanned : 
There tell of tears and love, ye waves ! 


4 - 

Farewell, ye hills that mock the sight ! 

For you we stood in bloody fight ; 

But who in chains doth find delight, 

Bereft free shrines, free homes, free isle ! 
Through lovely Erin’s wide domain, 

Alas ! a heavy lengthening chain 
Around our race drags on its train — 

No more free shrines, free homes, free isle ! 
No longer Ireland’s warriors shine, 

To stand for rights in bristling line, 

But Saxon arms and wiles combine 
To blast free shrines, free homes, free isle ! 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 


5 - 

Our valiant comrades, cold and low, 

No longer heed the tramp of foe, 

Who works their country's overthrow 
Above their trampled bones and blood ! 
Our sainted sires heed not the file 
Advancing up the hallowed aisle, 

To leave the flocks a dead-built pile 
Above their trampled bones and blood ! 
The burning thatch, the crumbling wall, 
On level plain, on mountain tall, 

Upon our dear, dear kinsmen fall, 
Above their trampled bones and blood ! 


6 . 

When our proud host from fight withdrew, 
Our country’s frame, being shivered through, 
Nerveless and sinewless doth rue 
The loss of the departed brave — 

Now widow-like she views the skies, 

Doth deadly roll her weeping eyes, 

Is mewing moans and choking sighs 
And groans for the departed brave ! 

Whilere in pride of queen she rose 
And hurled as death -bolt on her fods 
Us flaming Celts in fiery rows — 

But now the lost — departed brave ! 


7 - 

In fields oncoming it may hap 
That we shall roll, as thunder-clap, 

On those who whirled from Erin’s lap 
The last proud mustering of her brave ! 

To friendly France we plough our way, 

We wait the rising of a day 
That bugles wildly to the fray 
Erin’s last mustering of her brave ! 

We follow glorious Sarsfield’s will — 

Through briny foam — through war-whoops shrill — 
And hot and red round him shall spill 
The blood of Erin’s mustered brave ! 


o- 


-o 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 


. 8 . 

Adieu, dear island ! still adieu ! 

While skims our fleet the billows blue, 

Heaven’s fost’ring aid for thee we sue — 

Then sigh — thou lovely one ! adieu ! 

To thee, fair Erin, happier days ! 

Thy gloomy face with glory rays 
Be brightened to one living blaze — 

Then wail we, “ Erin ! Fare-thee-well ! ” 

And wish that every swelling wave 
Which breaks or brawls round rock or cave 
Will tell the tale of the last brave — 

Who shriek towards faded beach — adieu! ! 

LVII. 

And their wild shriek was caught by woeful wights, 

And borne onward with impetuous speed 

Through glens, and woods, and plains, and mountain heights, 

As when gale-drifted cloud doth over mead 

And hill its darkening, passing shadows lead. 

Lo ! thousands flee from soldiers’ steel. 

Lo ! thousands scream in the last pangs of need, 

And stretch the hand of hope to hearts quite hard to feel 
The fainting, famished, famine-stricken soul’s appeal ! 

LV1II. 

Lo ! yonder mother with her babes around, 

Her distant cabin wasted with the fire, 

Eats by the way the nettles off the ground, 

And gasping trims a deathbed in the mire 
For her lost little ones ! The burning ire 
Of conquerer did scorch to death 
Her sons and husband in the common pyre 
Of victim Ireland. Ah ! not e’en a bed of heath 
Free from despair and pain the foe relinquished!. 


O- H — : o 


THE LAST L UMNEA CH BARD. 3 1 


LIX. 

Where is the word of boasting England now ? 

Where are the terms sealed by Shannon’s side ? 
Security is gone. The Celt must bow 
To low subjections contumelies. Rage, pride, 

And hate have havoc in destruction wide 
O’er Erin’s fields and trodden race. 

The treaty, like horizon far descried, 

Where earth and distant sky to the eye’s view embrace, 
Two foes did seem to join ; but far with bounding pace, 

• LX. 

As facts approached, that union fled anon, 

And seemed to mock, eternally aloof. 

The Lumneach articles were trampled on, 

And a wide web of woe, whose mazy woof 
Was wove by Saxon, spread like ample roof, 

Dismal and darkening Erin’s isle. 

The foeman’s horns and the loud clattering hoof 
Of deathful steed were heard with terror sounding, while 
All tombless lay the dead and shroudless in a pile ! 

LXI. 

“ Ginkle,” thus mused the Lumneach Bard, “ a day 
Shall wreak revenge. The spurned and trampled poor 
Shriek loud for vengeance, and death and dismay 
All-unexpected shall overwhelm and lure 
You to a direful fate. On thee, mature 
In boundless crime, the fiends shall dance 
Through ages numberless. O demon ! sure 
Unexpiated quivers not your bloody lance, 

Nor does your charger, Attila ! unheeded prance 


-o 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD. 


LXII. 

“ O’er wrecks, and o’er a new-formed wilderness, 

As though of Zenghis Khan or Tamerlane. 

Scipio mourned o’er Carthage’ loneliness ; 

Yet Christian Saxon doth not list the slain 
Crowding the war and famine ravaged plain, 

But fiendish stalks the lone, wide waste, 

And sighs he yet to rivet more the chain 
Upon the few who fearful to wild caverns haste, 

So low, so outcast, so down-trodden, so debased ! 

LXIII. 

“ Yet God gave up to Celt these fields, 

And Celt’s green flag above them waved on high 
Through ages ; and when his robust arm wields 
The sword, no spoiled domains delight the eye 
Of greedy, venturous captain. A black lie 
Is lack to foil the generous brave. 

No penal code is formed, no Irish die 
The death of beasts, till Celts contend, till English knave 
Rends treaty’s seal, as on the far, far distant wave 

LXIV. 

“ Poor Ireland’s guard is lost. Seared not the hand 
That writ the dread and persecuting line 
Amid thy gloom, O Erin, luckless land ! 

Voiceless and wan thy children sit — still thine 
Is woe — still thine is woe! Hard hearts combine 
In guile thy sons to exterminate.” 

There stands the bard of Limerick to pine 
From anger, anguish, and despair, beneath stern Fate, 

A prey for pallid Persecution’s pangs, which wait ! 


6 — - — o 


o o 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 


LXV. 

No more he hears the song of happy swain — 

No more the milk-maid draws the lengthy note — 

No more the cheery villager full fain 
Chirps by, or brook, or wood, or Danish moat — 
Blithely no more to school on hill remote 
He sees the urchins pass, and play, 

Or cackle on the lesson conned by rote — 

No more — no more the confluent Irish wind their way 
To mass at church on Sabbath or on holiday ! 

LXV I. 

Where is the church — that sanctuary of time ! 

That grand memorial of his fathers’ bones ! 

That house of hope and happiness sublime ! 

That spot of balm and lethe of his moans ! 

That relic of old Ireland’s faith ! The stones 
Of ruined wall the floor invade, 

And solitary stands the wreck which owns 
Its birth to years of yore ; or where Celts’ dust was laid, 
Saxon, like Moslem, prays at shrines which others made. 

LXVII. 

Sad, withering, deplorable indeed ! 

From Cashel rock where ope’d his chapel door, 

St Cormac viewed the clump, and flowery mead, 

And intermingling monuments of lore 
Along the golden vein towards Kerry shore, 

And happy hamlets intertwined, 

And fair and frequent churches interspersed before 
His gladdening gaze. Then, then no Irishman repined, 
But lays to prelate-king bespoke the happy mind. 


E 


34 THE LAST L UMNEACH BARD. 


LXVIII. 

The days of Cinfeled and Olchobear, 

So dear to Irish heart, were come again; 

And the wild note of joy flowed on the air, 

And swept all-blissful o’er Mononia’s plain, 

As church and kingdom in commingled strain 
Pealed on the anthem’s harmony. 

N or Leinster king nor overbearing Dane 
Could long disturb the prosperous tranquillity 
Which reigned in Lumneach sweetly and unchangingly. 

LXIX. 

But all the fascinations of the past 

Were gulfed in time. His heart in inward woe 

Was bathed deep. His country’s die was cast. 

Then slowly yielding he resolved to go 
From homesteads of his sires which once more 
He will not see, and from the plain 
Where haughtily held sway the Saxon foe, 

From towns, from granges, and from many a beauteous fane, 
Whose ivied walls a victim fell to hands profane. 

LXX. 

His eye a lingering gazed, and weeping went 
From spot to spot across his country’s face — 

He wished his dust to lie in minglement 
With the long-gathered ashes of his race 
In that loved land. There was for him no place 
So dear, so sacred, as the grave, 

Where the rude flag rose with an artless grace, 

And told of those if famed, if loved, if old, if brave, 

With whom he loved to sleep, but never would a slave. 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD. 


35 


LXXI. 

“ Fair land,” he sighed, “ if my deep love of thee 
Will ever coldish wax, then death congeal 
This very frame ; if ever die in me 
That thought which is a balm, a joy, a weal, 

With my growth grew, lives with life, which I feel, 

Do think, discern, love, fondle, feed — - 

The thought of Limerick, Mague, Shannon, Deel, 

Of Thomond’s princely lands, vain fought for to be freed, 
Of many a home, and town, and rill, and fort, and mead, 

LXXII. 

“ Where I did much in joy luxuriate ; 

Then, as a phantom, may I quickly fade, 

Nor longer live when life can’t be but hate ! 

Sweeter to die than living be a shade ! 

’Tis good to leave thee, land, when I can aid 

No more ; but in my heart I ’ll bear 

Thy face which nature’s finger lovely made, 

And never will forget thee, fair one of the fair ! 

Ah me ! no member of my name doth breathe the air 

LXXI II. 

“ Which fed my life. My comrades sail the sea, 

And heaven, hope, doth hold my kinsmen’s sprites. 
Would that I fell by Saxon yeomanry ! 

What times I clove their ranks in deathful fights, 

What times I dashed from Konnockferine heights 
In grand guerilla onslaughts, or 

I guarded Lumneach’s walls through hard-fought nights ! 
At Thomond bloody bridge would I had fallen ! for 
Thus had I shunned this light of life which I abhor. 



36 THE LAST L UMNEACH BARD 


LXXIV. 

“ I should have slept in peace ’neath Shannon’s waves, 
Where now a hundred comates calmly sleep ; 

Mine eyes would not have seen dishonoured graves, 
And friends who weep inaudibly would weep. 

But mine it is to cross the azure deep ; 

For I, though old, must still be free, 

And, as a slave, I ’ll never — never — never creep : 

I claim not home, not love, not friends unless I ’m free : 

I own no land, no race, save those with liberty ! ” 

LXXV. 

He turned, and for the last time trod 

The hill of Ireland’s Balbec — proud historic name ! 

He left — he had no comfort save his God — 

And as he moved, there smouldered in his frame 
A pulsive life — how wasting ! and there came 
Thought after thought, and woe on woe ! 

But yet his mind saw not a shade of blame 
To sully patriotism. One easily might know 
From his fixed gait and downward gaze as he did go 

LXXVI. 

Sternly and slowly with all-fearless face, 

That he was unimpeachable and pure. 

And then, indeed, what sweet and charmful grace 
Did nature pour that eve ! Who could endure 
The separation from what might allure 
The veriest serfs to arms, to death ? 

Ah me ! could beauty be lost freedom’s cure ! 

Upon the solemn Galtees scalped with the brown heath, 
And all along the golden vale, inhabiteth 


THE LAST L UMNEA CH BARD. 3 7 


LXXVII. 

A softness of kind nature’s nourishing. 

The fields outspread as lawns of velvet green 
One joys in feeling the fresh life of spring, 

And more, a spring of loveliest summer scene. 

The pleased eye sparkles o’er the sight serene, 

And the soul gladdens in the glow 
Of nature making love in charmful sheen. 

Alas ! alas ! how hard the pleasure to forego 
Of resting where the Lubach’s gentle eddies flow ! 

LXXVIII. 

Killocia’s lake is silvered by the sun 
As he is sinking to his night’s repose, 

Killocia’s war-worn walls dismantled run 
Where once their turrets formidably rose, 

Killocia nigh dilapidated shows 
W ar’s rueful and war’s wasteful signs ; 

And over Kerry’s distant mountains flows 
A flood of crystal streamlets marking their curved lines, 
Their lawless features, and on Moloch’s abbey shines 

LXXIX. 

In broken rays at eventide. No home, 

Or friends or hope the Lumneach Bard claimed there. 
Did Irish power suffice, he need not roam 
To foreign lands, and Berwick would repair 
The fort which had been levelled as a lair 
For Saxons, Ireland’s greatest bane. 

He knew what time, what labours, and what care, 
Killocia town had cost Mountgarret, how in vain 
The Desmonds battled, how, ’mid multitudes of slain, 


O— • — — n 

38 THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 


LXXX. 

The glorious James Fitzmaurice victor rode 
Through flames. The Saxon won — so willed the fates — 
And men of Drury’s mind held their abode 
Within the famed Killocia of four gates. 

He moves a musing, and anon dilates 
A fair and flowery champaign vale 
Unto his gaze. With callous heart he hates 
Its loveliness, for he its loss doth sorely wail, 

And wills it be a desert rather than regale 

LXXXT. 

The savage foreigners who waste his race. 

“Ye heavens ! wish ye,” he sighed, “ that Blossom’s gate 
Will ope to pour with blithe and lively pace, 

And joyous sense, and heart expatiate 
Such mighty monsters as intensely hate 
The rightful owners of a land, 

Ancient and honoured, as exterminate 
Men rich in virtue and in deeds of glory grand, 

As lawless live and kill, as sinfully command ! 

LXXXII. 

“Is saintly Moloch’s edifice to hold 

Proud wassailers, and vice-gorged, and profane ? 

Are homes of saints whose praises peoples told 
To be the haunts of brigandiers immane ? 

Ars warriors’ halls thenceforward to contain 
The seed of Saxon debauchee ? 

Is Desmond’s land — oh ! that famed peerless plain, 
Teeming with God’s enriching, and with choicest glee 
For sight and soul — to serve the fleshliest ennui 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 


LXXX1II. 

“ Of Saxon beasts ? Killocia then adieu ! ” 

The castellated wall, baronial dome, 

And ruined habitation fled his view. 

Eve hasted on, and he did quickly roam 
Through land luxuriant to the lone home 
Of one long time to him most dear. 

Dark shades from Ballohourrah hills did come 
Adown and spread their sable reign afar and near, 

Along the valley he had traversed, as the cheer 

LXXXIV. 

Of a dear voice, unheard for years, might then 
Shed on his broken heart a ray of light, 

And his eyes, sad from sorrow’s scenes, again 
Might fain be filled with gladness at the sight 
Of a fond friend not vanished in the fight 
Of age and tribulations — oh ! 

Long notes of anguish idly bayed the night, 

And died away with whining moan, dull, dolesome, slow. 
No word of cheer there was, save Him who loves the low. 

1. 

O Jesus meek ! my earliest love, 

My hope at morn and eve, 

From sorrow’s den, to Thee above 
My soul’s wild plaint I heave ! 

2. 

Sour thought and biting memory 
Do canker my heart’s core, 

And hurry me to a boundless sea 
From time’s defenceless shore ; 

3 - 

Where Age rolls on his mustered ill 
With dire remorseless sweep, 

And Sin his arrows points to kill, 

And plunge me in hell’s deep. 


o o 


40 THE LA ST L UMNEA CH BARD . 


4 - 

But, Jesus! blissful realms of light, 

As silvery sea, are thrown, 

So blessed, so pure, so grand, so bright 
Around thy ceaseless throne. 

5 - 

There angels glow in glory’s blaze, 

Our fathers free from thrall, 

And Mary, with outshining rays, 

As sun amidst them all. 

6 . 

Ah ! there, there is an endless day, 

A home where live no pains, 

A lovely life that lasts for aye, 

A bloom that never wanes. 

7 - 

My sobbing heart heaves to such scene 
From all that’s drear below — 

I cry to Christ and to heaven’s Queen 
To lift me from my woe. 

8 . 

For I have met the blight of years 
And withering contumely, 

Death’s flaring eye, and — what hearts sears — 
The loss of liberty. 

9 - 

Yes ! liberty to breathe the air 
That filled our sires ago — 

Yes ! liberty to pray our prayer, 
Untrammelled by a foe. 

10. 

O Christ, my love ! I friends deplore, 

And I am all alone ; 

Eternity, or foreign shore, 

Holds those for whom I moan. 

11. 

And I am here in fatherland, 

So fallen and desolate, 

As Jeremiah took his stand 
To mourn o’er Zion’s fate. 


o — — -o 


■) 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD. 


12 . 

Woe, woe is mine, and misery, 

And mewling moan of song, 

Like bulbuls lonely lullaby, 

The lifeless leaves along. 

i3- 

But dark and drear though all is round, 
And hell must soon appear, 

Still Hope shines o’er the dread profound 
To cheer me in my fear. 

14. 

Through thee, O Christ ! and Mary, queen, 
There is for me a light, 

Which guides me from this dismal scene 
To heaven’s resplendent height — 

15 - 

Hope’s star that shone my way to deck, 
Through life’s long years afar, 

Above the quaking and the wreck 
Of plague, and fire, and war. 

16. 

That star in faith still gleaming seems, 
Despite the fraud of woe ; 

I watch its living, lovely beams 
From my dark depths of woe. 

W- 

And now the dead and dying among, 

In land of lost renown, 

With heavy heart and silent tongue 
All lorn I sit me down, 

18. 

Mid cinders of my fatherland, 

Mid altars spoiled and low, 

Mid ruined hopes, and dire command 
Of stern and plundering foe. 


6 — o 

F 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 


r 9- 

O Jesus ! Jesus i Thou alone 
Art my heart’s balm mid all ; 

Then hearken to the poor man’s groan, 

And hear the outcast’s call. 

20. 

And thou, O Mary, orb so bright ! 

Behold my state of gloom — 

Then call me to Thy mansions light, 

Then call me to the tomb ! 

LXXXVI. 

In his bereavement thus a Nestor sighs, 

Through lines of mingling pain and hope, the rush 
Of grief which with thought-working night doth rise 
The pulse of life at death of day to crush. 

And now creation dies in breathless hush, 

And stars the high pale sky adorn, 

When Lumneach bard meets him who, in the flush 
Of young years, strove to banish far from Erin’s bourne 
Proud bands of aliens. Gloomy, then, and anguish-worn, 

LXXXVIT. 

Helpless and deadly wan he was ! His brow 
Stood high and rugged o’er a wrinkled cheek ; 

The upright form of younger years did bow 
T o shrivelling nonagenarian weak ; 

The eye sank ’neath the eyebrow, yet all meek, 

Though as through vista seen. 

His hat was low. An overcoat did seek 
The ground. Brass-bound his toothless jaw and breast between, 
A cape of frieze flowed o’er his shoulders. Brogans old and mean 



THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 


LXXXVTII. 

Sheltered his tottering legs. He with a cane, 

Scarce and with trouble, moved his fading frame. 
How like was he to Ireland in her wane ! 

He kindly kissed the bard, and a bright flame 
Of living love flashed from his eyes. They came 
Into that aged pastors cot. 

It was a lowly cot, and scarce the name 
Of roof could that sequestered hamlet claim, as not 
A guard against the elements. It was a spot, 

LXXXIX. 

Howe’er, well known, well loved, and mentioned oft 
In the environs of Rathgoggan church. 

How little tyrants kenned who lived aloft 
From Irish woes that pastor’s lonely lurch ! 

Still there were hearts which loved the very birch 
Which that good priest had planted there. 

When gilded domes should change to ravens’ perch, 
And Saxon cormorants should cease to rage and tear 
Away the fat of Ireland, then his work would wear 

xc. 

As fair a front to sight as ever shown 
By oleander, dahlia, jessamine. 

His was the labour of the heart, and lone 
He freed that garden from the weeds of sin. 

Oft in the dead dull night, when storms begin 
To sound their loud and rainy blast, 

He wound his way through heath and furze to win 
To God, and cheer, some wretched dying sinner cast 
To eternity’s dread verge, and trembling for the past. 


O c5 


Q- r 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD. 


xci. 

Two generations rose, and bloomed, and fell, 

While he was battling in the cause of God ; — 

Two rival lines shot through the land a hell 
Of fire, and waste, and woe, — upraised the rod 
Of tyrants, and with heartless, baleful nod 
Sunk millions in a rueful doom ; — 

Two rival races with their chargers trod 
The battle-field, and thundering peopled the void womb 
Of Death with ghosts — two creeds did help to fill the tomb. 

XC1I. 

Yet like some oak that overlooks the deep, 

And after ages stands on beetling cliff, 

And has seen mighty ships and steamers sweep, 

And rift with billows, as a skiff, 

And heave their habitants quite dead and stiff 
O’er shingles on up-peeping rocks ; 

E’en so Rathgoggan priest, without a tiff, 

Saw generations vanish in the deathful shocks 

Of races, tyrants, time, thrones, wars, creeds, factions, flocks. 

xcm. 

He loved his God, and nought of earth could chill 
The pulse of grace that vivified his heart ; 

He loved his fatherland, nor e’er could will 
From purest patriotism to depart. 

No threat, no scorn, no agony, no mart, 

Could ripple his unchanging mind — 

To fight for creed and country was a part 
Of being, the sole duties which could sweetly bind 
Him to existence, and the only thoughts to find 


o — — — — — o 


THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 


XC1V. 

A lasting living in his inmost soul. 

And now, dear reader, you and I shall part ; 

We’ve viewed the Lumneach Bard, but the long roll 
Of wanderings and sorrows — if thy heart 
Do love to learn, and the soul-stirring dart 
Of patriotic piety 

Do smouldering linger e’en in embers ’thwart 
The green fields of dear Erin — you perhaps will see. 

Else, fare-thee-well. We love although we disagree. 

xcv. 

Should Lumneach Bard and the Rathgoggan priest — 
Names disembowelled from out the womb of time — 

Be but the jest of Irishmen, or feast 
For busy hirelings, or base pantomime 
To noble lords, and there be none sublime 
In thought, ungilt with selfish pelf ; 

Farewell, dear Bard, until the ignoble slime 
Which crawls in Irish serfs, and is the delf 
For English thought, be touched with wand by God-sent elf 

XCVI. 

To life, to hope, to love of Irish land ; 

Until all Irishmen of every creed 

Bewail their wealth swept off to stranger strand 

In millions — the inhabitants in need — 

Their isle and splendid havens spurned as the weed 
Of earth by ocean-sailing ships — 

Their children ranged ’neath every flag to bleed — 

Their homes unkept — their fertile fields untilled — the lips 
Of Irishmen untouched by aught of Ireland save the drips 


6— — — o 


46 THE LAST LUMNEACH BARD . 


XCVII. 

Of Ireland’s fruit and fat borne Englandward ! 

Do not thy rivers, Erin, useless steal, 

Thy lakes sleep mid low-lying, lovely sward 
Without the buzz of mankind, or the peal 
Of factories on their banks, or the wheel 
Flapping to vex their glassy face ? 

Where are thy fisheries ? There’s scarce a keel. 

To encounter the Atlantic shoals which yearly trace 
Their course by bay, beach, headland, in untroubled race. 

XCVII I. 

Do not thy many mines lie unexplored ? 

Thy lands nigh tenantless, and houseless nigh ? 

Are not undoubted rights still unrestored ? 

Thy marbles, of all-coloured dye, 

Unsearched, unchiselled, and unpolished lie. 

From them no life, no arch, no dome. 

And fain do Celts in flocks from Ireland hie, 

As migratory birds from native land to roam. 

One sees the roofless houses tombstones of their home. 

xcix. 

Erins wealth gilds domes in other lands, 

Her nobles dwell in foreign capitals; 

Among the nations she no longer stands ; 

Stock supersedes her sons, her language falls ; 

Once happy hamlets are now cattle stalls, 

And gardens moss-grown paths for game. 

The sound of song and joy has fled her halls ; 

She has lost power, wealth, beauty, glory, language, name ; 
She pines a palsied member of the British frame !