To The Irish Dead

written by George Essex Evans

To The Irish Dead

— George Essex Evans

’TIS a green isle set in a silver water,
A fairy isle where the shamrock grows.
Land of Legend, the Dream-Queen’s daughter—
Out of the Fairies’ hands She rose.
They touched Her harp with a tender sighing,
A spirit-song from a world afar,
They touched Her heart with a fire undying
To fight and follow Her battle-star.
Too long, too long thro’ the grey years growing
Feud and faction have swept between
The Thistledown and the red Rose blowing
And the three-fold leaf of the Shamrock green;
But the seal of blood, ye shall break it never:
With rifles grounded and bare of head
We drink to the dead who live forever
A silent toast—To the Irish dead!

’Tis an Irish cheer on the hillside ringing,
Where, checked and broken, the vanguards reel,
But on and upward and forward swinging,
The glittering line of the Irish steel!
Like points of light ’mid the boulders lying
Gleam and redden their bayonets keen.
On, thro’ the hell of their dead and dying,
Forward, forward, the Shamrock green!

To Ireland, set in the silver water,
To the fighting blood that is proved and tried—
Our sharpest sword and our fairest daughter—
Who saved the Empire and turned the tide!
And Wisdom comes as the days grow older,
We are done with the faults of the past, I ween,
Standing together, shoulder to shoulder,
The Thistle, the Rose, and the Shamrock green!

About the poet


George Essex Evans

George Essex Evans was an Australian poet. Biography Evans was born in London on 18 June 1863. Both his parents were Welsh. Evans's father, John Evans, Q.C., died in 1864 when Evans was only a few months old. John Evans, who was the Treasurer of the Inner Temple and a member of the House of Commons, left his family a fortune of 60 000 pounds. The fortune did not last very long. Consequently, Evans was raised and educated by his mother Mary Ann (née Owen), who was one of the Bowens of Llwynwair, an old Welsh family. Mary Ann was an educated woman, fluent in both Latin and Greek. The family lived in Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire where Evans attended Haverfordwest Grammar School and...

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