KING BRIAN flung his banners out to greet the dawn of day,

And bade his trusty chieftains arm to meet the coming fray.

Beneath, with many a cohort vast, on Clontarf’s grassy plain

He dimly saw beyond the mist the spearmen of the Dane.

And fiercely then his noble heart beat in his aged breast:

“This day the Northman’s pride shall break beneath the Irish West!

Ho! kings and princes, chiefs and clans—come pledge your faith on high—

For creed and country go we forth to conquer or to die”!

They swore the royal oath he gave, and then thro’ all the bands

A prayer went up that God would give the battle to their hands.

The charge is sounded—on they rush with glittering spear and shield—

What Irish heart e’er quailed to meet his foeman on the field?

Ah! did they then forget their wrongs—the Northmen’s bloody debts—

St. Kieran’s butchered pilgrims and Isle Helig's anchorets?

Oh, thought they not of Bangor with its thousand murdered men,

Nor longed to see the cruel Dane before their bows again?

Like some wild torrent, mountain-born, long pent above the vale,

So rushed upon the Northmen then the spearmen of the Gael!

The bold Dalcassians—Brian’s arm—dashed first into the fight:

“Down with the red invader—for Brian and the right”!

Duvlann, the Chieftain of the Steeds, with battle axe on high,

Led on the horse with thunder force, and gave the Irish cry!

Now Kian, Molloy’s fearless son, hewed out a bloody way,

And brave McGuire pushed on his hosts within the thickest fray.

Great Donogh, Brian’s peerless son, swept all before his sword,

And Conaing ravished like a wolf within the Danish horde!

The fierce O’Conor led his clans on like a wintry storm,

Where’er the wildest fight was seen—was seen Prince Morrow’s form.

But see! the Earls of Bruadar and Lodar lift the shield—

They mean to break the Irish Third and sweep the shattered field!

About them range the haughty Danes, their purchased allies, too—

And well they know the Irish lance will give them work to do!

Onward they rush, as rolls a wave against a mighty rock,

The O’Mulrooney Ruddy Chief was there to meet the shock;

Oh, fierce and wild the conflict raged—the gallant Third was brave—

And back the Danish spearmen rolled, a broken, scattered wave.

But dead upon the gory hold the tearless Rooney lay,

And close beside—the Danish Earls—his battle axe’s prey!

The day was won! unconquered, free—purged of its alien stain,

The Irish banner proudly waved o’er Clontarf’s bloody plain!

John Jerome Rooney.