‘Tis gone, and for ever, the light we saw breaking,
Like Heaven’s first dawn o’er the sleep of the dead —
When Man, from the slumber of ages awaking,
Look’d upward, and bless’d the pure ray, ere it fled.
‘Tis gone, and the gleams it has left of its burning,
But deepen the long night of bondage and mourning,
That dark o’er the kingdoms of earth is returning,
And darkest of all, hapless Erin, o’er thee.
For high was thy hope, when those glories were darting
Around thee, through all the gross clouds of the world;
When Truth, from her letters indignantly starting,
At once, like a sun-burst, her banner unfurl’d.
Oh! never shall earth see a moment so splendid!
Then, then — had one Hymn of Deliverance blended
The tongues of all nations — how sweet had ascended
The first note of liberty , Erin, from thee!
But, shame on those tyrants who envied the blessing!
And shame on the light race, unworthy its good,
Who, at Death’s reeking altar, like furies, caressing
The young hope of Freedom, baptised it in blood.
Then vanish’d for ever that fair sunny vision,
Which, spite of the slavish, the cold heart’s derision,
Shall long be remember’d, pure, bright, and elysian,
As first it arose, my lost Erin, on thee.
– Thomas Moore
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