Henry Lawson

17 June 1867 – 2 September 1922 / Grenfell, New South Wales

When The Irish Flag Went By

’Twas Eight-Hour Day, and proudly
Old Labour led the way;
The drums were bearing loudly,
The crowded streets were gay;
But something touched my heart like pain,
I could not check the sigh
That rose within my bosom when
The Irish Flag went by.

Bright flags were raised about it
And one of them my own:
And patriots trod beneath it—
But it seemed all alone.
I thought of ruined Ireland
While crystals from the sky
Fell soft like tears by angels shed,
As the Irish Flag went by.

I love the dark green standard
As Irish patriots do;
It waves above the rebels,
And I’m a rebel too,
I thought of Ireland’s darkest years,
Her griefs that follow fast;
For drooping as ’twere drenched with tears
The Irish Flag went past.

And though ’twas not in Erin
That my forefathers trod;
And though my wandering footsteps
Ne’er pressed the “dear old sod”,
I felt the wrongs the Irish feel
Beneath the northern sky.
And felt the rebel in my heart
When the Irish Flag went by.

I tell you, men of England,
Who rule the land by might;
I tell you, Irish traitors
Who sell the sons of light,
The tyranny shall fail at last,
That changeful days are nigh;
And you shall dip your red flag yet,
When the Irish Flag goes by.
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