Written For The O'Connel Centenary.

A poem by Nora Pembroke

Sons of the bright, green island,
Gathered by the pine-fringed lake,
In honour of his memory,
Who battled for your sake,
Listen, we too pay our tribute
To a fame that well endures;
He, who ventured much for liberty,
Is ours as well as yours.

Men fought in vain for freedom,
And lay down in felon graves;
"Your noblest then were exiles,
Your proudest then were slaves"
When the people, blind and furious,
Maddened by oppression's scorn,
Struggled, seethed in wild upheaval,
Was the Liberator born.

Who took the sword fell by the sword,
This man was born to show,
How thoughts would win where steel had failed
One hundred years ago
By force the patriot tried in vain
To stem oppression's might,
This man arose and won the cause,
By pleading for the right.

He stood to plead for liberty
On Dunedin's Calton-hill;
No man had ever greater power
To move men's hearts at will
Erin, without name, senate, flag,
This, her advocate and son,
Pleaded for those who tried and lost,
With those who tried and won

He stood to ask for justice,
For ruth and mercy's grace,
For a people of another faith,
And of another race
He stood on ground made holy
By resistance unto wrong,
And Scotia's freemen gathered round,
Full twenty thousand strong

And rock and distant city,
The broad Forth gliding clear,
Yea, every heath-clad hill-top
Had hushed itself to hear,
From the shades of hero martyrs
Of patriotic fame,
From the land they thought worth fighting for,
High inspiration came

He won the cause he strove for,
With bold undaunted brow,
And his name and fame roll brightening on
Along the years till now,
All honour to his memory,
May his words, where'er they fall,
Bring forth the love of liberty,
And equal rights to all

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