Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Song of O’Ruark, Prince of Breffni

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


The Song of O’Ruark, Prince of Breffni

By Thomas Moore (1779–1852)

THE VALLEY lay smiling before me,

Where lately I left her behind;

Yet I trembled, and something hung o’er me,

That saddened the joy of my mind.

I looked for the lamp which she told me

Should shine when her pilgrim returned;

But, though darkness began to infold me,

No lamp from the battlements burned!

I flew to her chamber,—’t was lonely

As if the loved tenant lay dead;—

Ah, would it were death, and death only!

But no—the young false one had fled.

And there hung the lute, that could soften

My very worst pains into bliss,

While the hand that had waked it so often

Now throbbed to a proud rival’s kiss.

There was a time, falsest of women,

When Breffni’s good sword would bave sought

That man, through a million of foemen,

Who dared but to wrong thee in thought!

While now, O degenerate daughter

Of Erin! how fallen is thy fame!

And through ages of bondage and slaughter

Our country shall bleed for thy shame.

Already the curse is upon her,

And strangers her valleys profane;

They come to divide, to dishonor,

And tyrants they long will remain.

But, onward! the green banner rearing,

Go, flesh every sword to the hilt;

On our side is Virtue and Erin,

On theirs is the Saxon and Guilt.