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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Ireland: Vol. V. 1876–79.


The Siege of Limerick

By Robert Dwyer Joyce (1830–1883)

BY William led, the English sped,

With musket, sword, and cannon,

To sweep us all from Limerick’s wall,

And drown us in the Shannon;

But we bethought how well they fought,

Our fathers there before us;

We raised on high our charging cry,

And flung our green flag o’er us!

For days on days their cannon’s blaze

Flashed by the blood-stained water;

The breach is done, and up they run,

Five hundred to the slaughter;

They crossed the breach beyond our reach,

New foes fresh work supplied us;

Our women brave, their homes to save,

Soon slew them all inside us!

Though through the smoke their army broke,

With cannons booming solemn,

We would not flinch, but inch for inch

Opposed its bristling column;

Three times we dashed them back, and smashed

Their lines with shot and sabre,

And naught had they at close of day

But thinned ranks for their labor.

With angry word then said their lord,

“Our foes are better, braver!”

Then fled he straight from Limerick’s gate,

For he could not enslave her;

Then raised we high our triumph cry,

Where battle’s chances found us,

With corse and gun and red flags strewn,

And blood and ruin round us!