War Song

Melody - "Molly Macalpin"

Thomas Moore, 1808, from Irish Melodies, vol. 1

Remember the glories of Brien the brave*,
Though the days of the hero are o'er,
Though lost to Mononia** and cold to the grave,
He returns to Kinkora*** no more.
That star of the field, which so often hath pour'd
Its beam on the battle, is set;
But enough of its glory remains on each sword,
To light us to victory yet.

2. Mononia! when Nature embellish'd the tint
Of thy fields, and thy mountains so fair,
Did she ever intend that a tyrant should print
The footstep of slavery there?
No! Freedom, whose smile we shall never resign,
Go, tell our invaders, the Danes,
That 'tis sweeter to bleed for an age at thy shrine,
Than to sleep but a moment in chains.

3. Forget not our wounded companions who stood****
In the day of distress by our side;
While the moss of the valley grew red with their blood,
They stirr'd not, but conquer'd and died.
That sun which now blesses our arms with his light,
Saw them fall upon Ossory's plain; --
Oh! let him not blush, when he leaves us to-night,
To find that they fell there in vain.

From the footnotes of Irish Melodies:

* Brien Boromhe, the great monarch of Ireland, who was killed at the battle of Clontarf in the beginning of the 11th century, after having defeated the Danes in twenty-five engagements.

** Munster.

*** The palace of Brien.

**** This alludes to an intersting circumstance related to the Dalgais, the favourite troops of Brien, when they were interrupted in their return from the battle of Clontarf, by Fitzpatrick, prince of Ossory. The wounded men entreated that they might be allowed to fight with the rest. -- "Let stakes (they said) be stuck in the ground, and suffer each of us, tied to and supported by one of these stakes, to be placed in his rank by the side of a sound man. "Between seven and eight hundred wounded men (adds O'Halloran), pale, emaciated, and supported in this manner, appeared mixed with the foremost of the troops; -- never was such another sight exhibited." -- History of Ireland, book xii., chap i.

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