Old Irish Poems

Songs of Our Land by Francis Brown

 

Songs of our land, ye are with us for ever, The power and the splendor of thrones pass away; But yours is the might of some far flowing river. Through Summer's bright roses or Autumn's decay. Ye treasure each voice of the swift passing ages, And truth which time writeth on leaves or on sand; Ye bring us the thoughs of poets and sages, And keep them among us, old songs of our land. The bards may go down to the place of their slumbers, The lyre of the charmer be hushed in the grave, But far in the future the power of their numbers Shall kindle the hearts of our faithful and brave, It will waken an echo in souls deep and lonely, Like voices of reeds by the summer breeze fanned; It will call up a spirit for freedom, when only Her breathings are heard in the songs of our land. For they keep a record of those, the true-hearted, Who fell with the cause they had vowed to maintain; They show us bright shadows of glory departed, Of love that grew cold and hope that was vain. The page may be lost and the pen long forsaken, And weeds may grow wild o'er the brave heart and hand; But ye are still left when all else hath been taken, Like streams in the desert, sweet songs of our land. Songs of our land, ye have followed the stranger, With power over ocean and desert afar, Ye have gone with our wanderers through distance and danger, And gladdened their path like a homeguiding star. With the breath of our mountains in summers long vanished, And visions that passed like a wave from the sand, With hope for their country and joy from her banished. Ye come to us ever, sweet songs of our land. The spring time may come with the song of our glory, To bid the green heart of the forest rejoice, But the pine of the mountain though blasted and hoary, And the rock in the desert, can send forth a voice, It was thus in their triumph for deep desolations, While ocean waves roll or the mountains shall stand, Still hearts that are bravest and best of the nations, Shall glory and live in the songs of our land. FRANCIS BROWNE (the Blind Poetess) was born in County Donegal, June 16, 1818. Her loss of sight was owing to a severe attack of small pox during her infancy, which left this deplorable mark of its presence. Her early education was acquired through the attention with which she listened to the instructions given her sisters and brother; her natural literary tastes requiring but little assistance to grow to perfect fruitation. As early as her seventh year, her desire for verse-making made itself manifest. In 1844 her first volume of poems was published and received with favour.

 

A NATION ONCE AGAIN "This country of ours is no sand-bank, thrown up by some recent caprice of earth. It is an ancient land, honoured in the archives of civilization, traceable into antiquity by its piety, its valor, and its sufferings. Every great European race has sent its stream to the river of the Irish mind. Long wars, vast organizations, subtle codes, beacon crimes, leading virtues, and self-mighty men were here. If we lived influenced by wind, and sun, and tree, and not by the passions and deeds of the Past, we are a thriftless and hopeless people" - Davis's Essays

 

 A NATION ONCE AGAIN by Thomas Davis

 

When boyhood's fire was in my blood, I read of ancient freemen, For Greece and Rome who bravely stood, Three Hundred Men and Three Men. And then I prayed I yet might see Out fetters rent in twain, And Ireland, long a province, be A Nation once again. And, from that time, through wildest woe, That hope has shown, a far light; Nor could love's brightest summer glow Outshine that solemn starlight; It seemed to watch above my head In forum, field, and fane; Its angel voice sang round my head, "A Nation once again." It whispered, too, that "freedom's ark And services high and holy, Would be profaned by feelings dark And passions vain and lowly; For freedom comes from God's right hand, And needs a godly train; And righteous men must make our land A Nation once again." So, as I grew from boy to man, I bent me to the bidding - My spirit of each selfish plan And cruel passion ridding; For, thus I hoped some day to aid - Oh! can such hope be vain? - When my dear country shall be made A Nation once again. "National poetry is the very flowering of the soul, the greatest evidence of its health, the greatest excellence of its beauty. Its melody is balsam to the senses. It is the playfellow of Childhood ...also the companion of Manhood, consoles Age. It presents the most dramatic events, the largest characters, the most impressive scenes, and the deepest passions, in the language most familar to us. It magnifies and enobles our hearts, our intellects, our country, and our countrymen; binds us to the land by its condensed and gem-like history - to the future by example and aspiration. It solaces us in travel, fires us in action, prompts our invention, sheds grace beyond the power of luxury round our homes, is the recognised envoy of our minds among all mankind, and to all time." Davis's Essays

 

Irish Blessings

 

May the Irish hills caress you. May her lakes and rivers bless you. May the luck of the Irish enfold you. May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you. Now sweetly lies old Ireland Emerald green beyond the foam, Awakening sweet memories, Calling the heart back home. Ireland, it's the one place on earth That heaven has kissed With melody, mirth, And meadow and mist. Wherever you go and whatever you do, May the luck of the Irish be there with you. May your heart be warm and happy With the lilt of Irish laughter Every day in every way And forever and ever after. May the luck of the Irish possess you. May the devil fly off with your worries. May God bless you forever and ever. Bless your little Irish heart- and every other Irish part. Ireland is where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible. An Irish method for tackling problems; There comes a time when you must take the bull By the tail and face the situation squarely. Here's to good Irish friends Never above you Never below you May the Irish hills caress you. May her lakes and rivers bless you. May the luck of the Irish enfold you. May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you. Now sweetly lies old Ireland Emerald green beyond the foam, Awakening sweet memories, Calling the heart back home. Ireland, it's the one place on earth That heaven has kissed With melody, mirth, And meadow and mist. Wherever you go and whatever you do, May the luck of the Irish be there with you. May your heart be warm and happy With the lilt of Irish laughter Every day in every way And forever and ever after. May the luck of the Irish possess you. May the devil fly off with your worries. May God bless you forever and ever. Bless your little Irish heart- and every other Irish part. Ireland is where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible. An Irish method for tackling problems; There comes a time when you must take the bull By the tail and face the situation squarely. Here's to good Irish friends Never above you Never below you Always beside you. Always beside you.

 

More Irish Blessings

 

May the blessing of Light be on you - light without and light within, May the blessed sunlight shine on you and warm your heart till it glows like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may come and warm himself at it, and also a friend. And may the light shine out of the two eyes of you, like a candle set in two windows of a house, bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm. And may the blessing of the Rain be on you - the soft sweet rain. May it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up, and shed their sweetness on the air. And may the blessing of the Great Rains be on you, may they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean, and leave there many a shining pool where the blue of heaven shines, and sometimes a star. And may the blessing of the Earth be on you - the great round earth; may you ever have a kindly greeting for them you pass as you're going along the roads. May the earth be soft under you when you rest upon it, tired at the end of the day, and may it rest easy over you when, at the last, you lay out under it; May it rest so lightly over you, that your soul may be out from under it quickly, and up, and off, and on its way to God.

 

Still More Irish Blessings

 

May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back . May the sun shine warm upon your face, And the rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

 

Yet More Irish Blessings

 

Wishing you always - Walls for the wind And a rood for rain And tea beside the fire. Laughter to cheer you, And those you love near you, And all that your heart might desire!

 

The Legend of Ireland's Magic Harp

 

In the misty hills of Ireland A long, long time ago, There lived a lovely Irish lass Who loved her father so. One day he went to fetch some wood, But he did not soon return, And so his loving daughter's heart Was filled with great concern. She searched for him throughout the day, And when a fog came in She wept, for she was fearful They would never meet again. Then suddenly, a little band Of leprechauns came by. They all were very saddened. To hear the lovely maiden cry. They asked if they might have a lock Of her long and golden hair, Then tied the silken strands across A crooked limb with care. 'Twas a magic harp they'd made, And when the maiden touched each strand, The music led her father home Across the misty land. And to this day the harp remains A cherished symbol of The blessings of the hearth and home The Irish dearly love.

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