I know a land of salt
and pepper stalks and moss,
whose jagged, hazy coast
a thousand flowers bears —
of Ireland I boast.
Even now my heart is sick
for a home I never had.
If I were there,
what I would do,
I'll tell to you....
I'd show my love the mountain's nooks,
I'd pounce the foeman's daring rooks,
and plunder every dusty book,
and sleep in emerald vales.
We'd clamber up to a secret cave
and there we'd dwell,
away from the pell-mell,
and fast away in purple robes,
pretending we were noble-born
(for Ireland, we ought to be),
we'd in defiance hunger stave.
See now, her cloud legions marching in step
like flares emerging from the wood.
While horses roam her sunlit plains
and flowers shudder in her breeze;
while puddles form in shallow pools,
my watered mind accustoms trees
of bleak and twisted nature,
on the wild icicle river,
coldly biting my knees.
But here afar away,
there's treasure under every
'twixt frond and fern,
bristle and bramble,
and bounding stream.
Eire counts every rock;
assesses her stock.
I know a land
whose greenery bursts
in the morning dew,
and gives hopeful cause
to a hundred generations
of stoic sword-brethren
flashing down the coast,
singing their jolly tune,
as the oak decks are mounted
with freedom's guns
emboldening battle new.
Her amber-gilded name spears through
clouded sea and Cambrian cliff:
if every isle were touched as this!
by saintly light from Atlas' air.
She is the jewel of the isles,
the song of countless souls.
As men march down her
summer roads to meet their
tender-hearted lovers at home in
comfort from callous kings, the
breeze will bring news of another
christening or crossing... for then
each girl will spy him coming, and
make haste to alert the town,
and they will all turn out with joy
to welcome home their darling boy;
to herald the ending of famine and war,
and so they will shout for centuries more!