THE FENIAN’S DREAM
The sun was low; no more his ardent rays
Did lingering wanton with the blushing corn;
The lark had sung his evening hymn of praise,
And twittered near upon the flowered thorn;
The dim twilight that ushers in the morn
With warmer breath, foretold the coming night;
And nature seemed as dead, or being born,
For ne’er a zephyr stirred the upland height;
And summer clouds looked down through floods of liquid light.
On such an eve I careless kept my way
Adown the mead beside the babbling brook;
Unfettered fancy pictured scenes more gay,
For which my friends their native land forsook,
Then shamed, I cast around one amorous look
My infant resolutions were out-grown
And hear me, Heaven, O ne’er shall stranger nook,
Though fairer far than this, to me be known,
Whilst thou, fair isle – green Erin – art my own!
And fancy fashioned fancy, till my mind
Had realized Utopian schemes for thee;
Had seen the hour when tyranny, grown blind,
A fearless blow was struck, and thou wert free.
O daughter of the ever-sounding sea!
Say, say, may not futurity unroll
A page illumed in thy dark history,
With deeds as bold of thought as great of soul
As thine, free land, the guide – of misery the goal?
A silvery voice, that filled the ambient air,
Methought, in pitying accents, thus replied
“O stay thy thoughtless hand! thine island fair
Forgetst how recently in crimson dyed?
All that may be has fruitlessly been tried;
What? fruitless? Nay, say has it not brought forth
A sea of misery – a shoreless tide
Of desolation unto all of worth
And made thy name the scoff and proverb of the North?
I will not say ye have been justly used
Justice is such a rarity below;
Your former liberties were re-abused;
The victory’s policy designed it so;
But, ere ye think of rend’ring woe for woe,
O cast all foreign aid upon the shelf;
Give party spite a final overthrow;
So ye may brave the dynasty of Guelph
The man was never saved that couldn’t save himself.
But why attempt to gain a dubious weal,
When ye would make it by a certain loss?
Know ye the reason why the English feel
A contumacious scorn for ours and us?
The riddle’s simple, and it is because
They who respect themselves invoke respect,
And, could poor Ireland do as England does,
A prosp’rous populace would stand erect
In loyalty and trust a partial world’s elect.”
In echoing notes the music lingering ceased,
Like fairy tinklings of a far-off bell,
And streaks of purle in the early east
Warn’d flutt’ring night back to his shadowy cell
The morning clouds beneath the solar spell
Anon became of burnished pale and red,
And tears of joy bedewed each hill and dell,
The stream toned sweeter in its pebbled bed,
And thoughts of war and spoil like nightmare demons fled.
EL ZOGOYBI Cullybackey 20th June 1865