A poem by Denis Florence MacCarthy

Bless the dear old verdant land,
Brother, wert thou born of it?
As thy shadow life doth stand,
Twining round its rosy band,
Did an Irish mother's hand
Guide thee in the morn of it?
Did thy father's soft command
Teach thee love or scorn of it?

Thou who tread'st its fertile breast,
Dost thou feel a glow for it?
Thou, of all its charms possest,
Living on its first and best,
Art thou but a thankless guest,
Or a traitor foe for it?
If thou lovest, where the test?
Wouldst thou strike a blow for it?

Has the past no goading sting
That can make thee rouse for it?
Does thy land's reviving spring,
Full of buds and blossoming,
Fail to make thy cold heart cling,
Breathing lover's vows for it?
With the circling ocean's ring
Thou wert made a spouse for it!

Hast thou kept, as thou shouldst keep,
Thy affections warm for it,
Letting no cold feeling creep,
Like the ice breath o'er the deep,
Freezing to a stony sleep
Hopes the heart would form for it--
Glories that like rainbows weep
Through the darkening storm for it?

What we seek is Nature's right--
Freedom and the aids of it;--
Freedom for the mind's strong flight
Seeking glorious shapes star-bright
Through the world's intensest night,
When the sunshine fades of it!
Truth is one, and so is light,
Yet how many shades of it!

A mirror every heart doth wear,
For heavenly shapes to shine in it;
If dim the glass or dark the air,
That Truth, the beautiful and fair,
God's glorious image, shines not there,
Or shines with nought divine in it:
A sightless lion in its lair,
The darkened soul must pine in it!

Son of this old, down-trodden land,
Then aid us in the fight for it;
We seek to make it great and grand,
Its shipless bays, its naked strand,
By canvas-swelling breezes fanned.
Oh! what a glorious sight for it!
The past expiring like a brand,
In morning's rosy light for it!

Think that this dear old land is thine,
And thou a traitor slave of it;
Think how the Switzer leads his kine,
When pale the evening star doth shine,
His song has home in every line,
Freedom in every stave of it!
Think how the German loves his Rhine,
And worships every wave of it!

Our own dear land is bright as theirs,
But, oh! our hearts are cold for it;
Awake! we are not slaves but heirs;
Our fatherland requires our cares,
Our work with man, with God our prayers.
Spurn blood-stained Judas-gold for it,
Let us do all that honour dares--
Be earnest, faithful, bold for it!

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