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Anon, a change came o'er his dream.
Thick lay the slain, till every stream
It was the glowing eventide :
A light flashed from the west afar ;
Careering up the mountain-side,
And, heading this combined array,
A CHIEFTAIN rode, whose headlong course Nought could withstand. With giant might he upheld the fray, And drove the invading foreign force From Erin's land !...
Soon as the ruddy morning brake
Finn published this to all his bands;
And, with prophetic power he spake-
"The mystery of the dream," said he,
King Brian, son of Kennedy,
A mighty Prince, of soul sublime,
"Long prosperously this King shall reign;
But, woe-the-day! he shall be slain,
"And, tenfold woe to Innisfail!
A people shall o'errun her lands,
"And Tara and Kincora both
Shall lie through centuries desolate ;
Shall tower to a gigantic growth,
And alien Tyranny and Hate
But Erin's life-blood yet is warm,
Should chase Decay, and Sunshine Storm;
So, too, spake Fifin :-" A Chief," he said,
Shall raise the land as from the Dead,
"Long after Brian's day and sway
Thus far the Seer. O, Turlogh! say,
O, Raileann's King,* of lineage high,
Lo! glancing up, I still descry
The Spoiler on the hills of Meath;
O! should we not remember, We,
Clontarf's great Day? If Men will dare-
They will be and they must be free!
O Prince! beware the pent-up Wrath
Even as the Storm sweeps Ocean's path!
Raileann lay in the south-west of Munster, and was one of the ancient seats of the monarchs of that province.
It is from Cas, the son of Conall, that the Dalcassians derive their origin. The Earl O'Brien, the hero of our poem, was the twenty-eighth chieftain in descent from this great prince.
† King of Ireland from A. D. 125 to 142. His daughter, Sabina, was the wife of Oilioll Olum, king of Munster, from whom the O'Briens derive their descent.
Up, then, and recognise thy place,
And bare the Avenging Sword once more,
Our second poem embodies a Panegyric on the life and achievements of Thomas Butler, Earl of Ormond, and son of the Earl James Butler, who died in England, in 1545. Thomas received his education in England, but subsequently came over to Ireland for the purpose of taking his father's place. He was the champion of Queen Elizabeth's power and interests against all her opponents in Ireland, but more especially against the great, but unfortunate, Geraldines of Desmond. He died in 1614, at a very advanced age. The idea of the poem would appear, if we may judge from the opening stanzas, to have been suggested by a sight of the Earl's banner, hung up, after his death, in the seignorial hall.
The Panegyric of Thomas Butler, Earl of Ormond,
WHO DECEASED A. D. 1614.
I greet the Earl's high Flag with blended feelings
Flashed panic through the foe.
The variegated Banner, often planted,
With its resplendent Cross, that Shield of Shields !
Within thy walls, O fair and famed Kilkenny,
Droops now THE HATCHMENT, stirless, deathlike, lone.
In combat after combat o'er the island,
How rose and flamed that Ensign year by year,
And never through Dishonor or Disaster,
Long as it fluttered o'er the Lord of Thurles,
Was that proud standard lowered! No hand unfurls
To-day a Banner whose renown is chaster,
And purer from all stain !
How shall I chant that Conqueror always glorious?
Though piles on piles of Slaughtered heaped the field;
His burning bravery bore him on victorious.
He could not-He, be slain!