'Twas on the day when kings did fight|
Beside the Boyne's dark water,
And thunder Roared from every height,
And earth was read with slaughter;
That morn an aged chieftain stood
Apart from mustering bands,
And, from a height that crowned the flood,
Surveyed broad Erin's land.
2. His hand upon his sword hilt leant,
His war-horse stood beside,
And anxiously his eyes were bent
Across the rolling tide;
He thought of what a changeful fate
Had born him from the land,
Where frowned his father's castle gate,
High o'er the Renish strand.
3. And placed before his opening view
A realm where strangers bled,
Where he, a leader, s carcely knew
The tongue of those he led;
He looked upon his chequered life
From boyhood's earliest time.
Through scenes of tumult and of strife
Endured in every clime.
4. To where the snows of eighty years
Usurped the raven's strand,
And still the din was in his ears,
The broad-sword in his hand;
He turned him to futurity,
Beyond the battle plain
But then a shadow from on high
Hung o'er the heaps of slain.
5. And through the darkness of the cloud,|
The chief's prophetic glance
Beheld, with winding-sheet and shroud.
His fatal hour advance;
He quailed not as he felt him near
The inevitable stroke,
But dashing off one rising tear,
'Twas thus the old man spoke:
6. "God of my fathers! Death is nigh.
My soul is not deceived,
My hour is come, and I would die
The conqueror I have lived!
Four Thee, for Freedom, have I stood
For both I fall to -day:
Give me but victory for my blood,
The price I gladly pay!
7. "Forbid the future to restore
A Stuart's despot gloom,
Or that, by freemen dreaded more.
The tyranny of Rome!
From either curse let Erin freed.
As prosperous ages run,
Acknowledge what a glorious deed
Upon that day was done!"
8. He said--fate granted half his prayer
His steed he straight bestrode
And fell as on the routed rear
Of Jame's host he rode;
He sleeps in a cathedral's gloom,
Amongst the mighty dead;
And frequent o'er his hallowed tomb
Redeedful pilgrims tread:
The other half, though fate deny,
We'll arrive for one and all,
And William's Schomberg's spirits nigh,
We'll gain or fighting fall!