Thomas Moore, from Irish Melodies, vol. 2
Let Erin remember the days of old,|
Ere her faithless sons betray'd her;
When Malachi wore the collar of gold,*
Which he won from her proud invader,
When her kings, with standard of green unfurl'd,
Led the Red-Branch Knights to danger!**
Ere the emerald gem of the western world
Was set in the crown of a stranger.
2. On Lough Neagh's bank as the fisherman strays,|
When the clear cold eve's declining,
He sees the round towers of other days
In the wave beneath him shining:
Thus shall memory often, in dreams sublime,
Catch a glimpse of the days that are over;
Thus, sighing, look through the waves of time,
For the long-faded glories they cover.***
** Military orders of knights were very early established in Ireland: long before the birth of Christ we find an hereditary order of Chivalry in Ulster, called Curaidhe na Craiobhe ruadh, or the Knights of the Red Branch, from their chief seat in Emania, adjoining to the palace of the Ulster kings, called Teagh na Craoiobhe ruadh, or the Academy of the Red Branch; and contiguous to which was a large hospital, founded for the sick knights and soldiers, called Bronbhearg, or the House of the Sorrowful Soldier." - O'Halloran's Introduction, etc. part i., chap. 5.
*** It was an old tradition, in the time of Giraldus, that Lough Neagh had been originally a fountain, by whose sudden overflowing the country was inundated, and a whole region, like the Atlantis of Plato, overwhelmed. He says that the fishermen, in clear weather, used to point out to strangers the tall ecclestiastical towers under the water. Piscatores aquæ illius turres ecclesiasticas, quæ more patriæ arctæ sunt et aliæ, necnon et rotundæ, sub transeuntibus, reique causas admirantibus, frequenter ostendunt. - Topogr. Hib., dist. 2, c. 9.
All comments from Irish Melodies.
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