The Irishman

By James Orr, Bard of Ballycarry

From The Cabinet of Irish Literature, Volume 2, edited by Charles A. Read

The savage loves his native shore,
Though rude the soil and chill the air;
Then well may Erin's sons adore
Their isle, which nature formed so fair.
What flood reflects a shore so sweet
As Shannon great, or pastoral Bann?
Or who a friend or foe can meet
So generous as an Irishman?

His hand is rash, his heart is warm,
But honesty is still his guide;
None more repents a deed of harm,
And none forgives with nobler pride;
He may be duped, but won't be dared—
More fit to practise than to plan;
He dearly earns his poor reward,
And spends it like an Irishman.

If strange or poor, for you he'll pay,
And guide to where you safe may be;
If you're his guest, while e'er you stay
His cottage holds a jubilee.
His inmost soul he will unlock,
And if he may your secrets scan,
Your confidence he scorns to mock,
For faithful is an Irishman.

By honour bound in woe or weal,
Whate'er she bids he dares to do;
Try him with bribes—they won't prevail;
Prove him in fire—you'll find him true.
He seeks not safety, let his post
Be where it ought, in danger's van;
And if the field of fame be lost,
It won't be by an Irishman.

Erin! loved land! from age to age
Be thou more great, more famed, and free;
May peace be thine, or, shouldst thou wage
Defensive war, cheap victory.
May plenty bloom in every field
Which gentle breezes softly fan,
And cheerful smiles serenely gild
The home of every Irishman!

Related articles:—

James Orr, Bard of Ballycarry

Other poems by James Orr:—

Song of an Exile
Death and Burial of an Irish Cottier