Thoughts on Innisfail by Geoffrey Keating

(Translated from the Irish by the Editor)

From The Cabinet of Irish Literature, Volume 1, edited by Charles A. Read (1880)

For the sorrow of Innisfail sleepless I lie,
When I think of the morrow I hopelessly sigh;
I am heart-sick at thought of the races of old,
O'er whose plains the red tide of invasion hath rolled.

But, oh! Erin, my heart's love, why will you not learn
To trust only the old blood Milesian and stern!
For, alas! the fierce Sasenach boar hath ripped deep,
And drained dry the full veins your soft bosom did keep.

See, each band of invaders that come through the tide,
To this land that was once ruled with glory and pride,
Sets its rude chiefs on high in the halls of our great,
And its lordlings to ride round the island in state!

In the fields of our race foreign weeds are upreared,
And the soil they grow rich in no longer is feared!
The mighty O'Cavanagh chiefs are departed;
Dalcassian, Eugenian, are weak and cold-hearted.

The O'Mores and O'Connors no longer are bold,
Though like thunder their cry in the fierce fights of old--
Mighty reapers in fields that were ripened in wrath!--
Till they turned to the faithless no foe shut their path.

Fitzgeralds of Arney! would ye yet trod the field,
That the old crom aboo through our valleys yet pealed,
By your rivers not long would the waster be found--
Soon his cries and lamentings would echo around!

But oh! it were better, far better, good God!
That the last few were gathered and flying abroad
O'er the wild waves of Cleena, than thus trampled sore--
If the race and the island you favour no more.