Shall the Harp Then Be Silent

Melody - "Macfarlane's Lamentation"

Thomas Moore, from Irish Melodies, vol. 8

Shall the Harp then be silent, when he who first gave
To our country a name, is withdrawn from all eyes?
Shall a Minstrel of Erin stand mute by the grave
Where the first - where the last of her Patriots lies?

2. No - faint though the death-song may fall from his lips,
Though his Harp, like his soul, may with shadows be crost,
Yet, yet shall it sound, 'mid a nation's eclipse,
And proclaim to the world what a star hath been lost;*

3. What a union of all the affections and powers
By which life is exalted, embellish'd, refined,
Was embraced in that spirit - whose centre was ours,
While its mighty circumference circled mankind.

4. Oh, who that loves Erin, or who that can see,
Through the waste of her annals, that epoch sublime
Like a pyramid raised in the desert - where he
And his glory stand out to the eyes of all time;

5. That one lucid interval, snatch'd from the gloom
And the madness of ages, when fill'd with his soul,
A Nation o'erleap'd the dark bounds of her doom,
And for one sacred instant, touch'd Liberty's goal?

6. Who, that ever hath heard him - hath drunk at the source
Of that wonderful eloquence, all Erin's own,
In whose high-thoughted daring, the fire, and the force,
And the yet untamed spring of her spirit are shown?

7. An eloquence rich, wheresoever its wave
Wander'd free and triumphant, with thoughts that shone through
As clear as the brook's "stone of lustre," and gave,
With the flash of the gem, its solidity too.

8. Who, what ever approach'd him, when free from the crowd,
In a home full of love, he delighted to read
'Mong the trees which a nation had given, and which bow'd,
As if each brought a new civic crown for his head.**

9. Is there one, who hath thus, through his orbit of life
But at distance observed him - through glory, through blame,
In the calm of retreat, in the grandeur of strife,
Whether shining or clouded, still high and the same?***

10. Oh no, not a heart that e'er knew him but mourns
Deep, deep, o'er the grave where such glory is shrined
O'er a monument Fame will preserve 'mong the urns
Of the wisest, the bravest, the best of mankind!

Notes from Irish Melodies:

* These lines were written on the death of our great patriot, Grattan, in the year 1820. It is only the two first verses that are either intended or fitted to be sung.

** The following verse is here omitted:

That home, where - like him, who, as fable hath told,
Put the rays from his brow, that his child might come near
Every glory forgot, the most wise of the old
Become all that the simplest and youngest hold dear.

*** Another elision occurs here:

Such a union of all that enriches life's hour,
Of the sweetness we love and the greatness we praise,
As that type of simplicity blended with power,
A child with a thunderbolt, only pourtrays.

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