A hundred years their various course have run,
Since Erin’s arms received her noblest son,
And years unnumbered must in turn depart
Ere Erin fails to fold him to her heart.
He is our boast, our glory, and our pride,
For us he lived, fought, suffered, dared, and died;
Struck off the shackles from each fettered limb,
And all we have of best we owe to him.
If some cathedral, exquisitely fair,
Lifts its tall turrets through the wondering air,
Though art or skill its separate offering brings,
’Tis from O’Connell’s heart the structure springs.
If through this city on these festive days,
Halls, streets, and squares are bright with civic blaze
Of glittering chains, white wands, and flowing gowns,
The red-robed senates of a hundred towns,
Whatever rank each special spot may claim,
’Tis from O’Connell’s hand their charters came.
If in the rising hopes of recent years
A mighty sound reverberates on our ears,
And myriad voices in one cry unite
For restoration of a ravished right,
’Tis the great echo of that thunder blast,
On Tara pealed or mightier Mullaghmast,
If arts and letters are more widely spread,
A Nile o’erflowing from its fertile bed,
Spreading the rich alluvium whence are given
Harvests for earth and amaranth flowers for heaven;
If Science still, in not unholy walls,
Sets its high chair, and dares unchartered halls,
And still ascending, ever heavenward soars,
While capped Exclusion slowly opes it doors,
It is his breath that speeds the spreading tide,
It is his hand the long-locked door throws wide.
Where’er we turn the same effect we find—
O’Connell’s voice still speaks his country’s mind.
Therefore we gather to his birthday feast
Prelate and peer, the people and the priest;
Therefore we come, in one united band,
To hail in him the hero of the land,
To bless his memory, and with loud acclaim
To all the winds, on all the wings of fame
Waft to the listening world the great O’Connell’s name.
Joy to Ierne, joy,
This day a deathless crown is won,
Her child of song, her glorious son,
Her minstrel boy
Attains his century of fame,
Completes his time-allotted zone,
And proudly with the world’s acclaim
Ascends the lyric throne.
Yes, joy to her whose path so long,
Slow journeying to her realm of rest
O’er many a rugged mountain’s crest,
He charmed with his enchanting song:
Like his own princess in the tale,
When he who had her way beguiled
Through many a bleak and desert wild
Until she reached Cashmere’s bright vale
Had ceased those notes to play and sing
To which her heart responsive swelled,
She looking up, in him beheld
Her minstrel lover and her king;—
So Erin now, her journey well-nigh o’er,
Enraptured sees her minstrel king in Moore.