Jane Wilde

27 December 1821 – 3 February 1896

Have We Done Well For Ireland?

O Country, writhing in thy chain
With fierce, wild efforts to be free,
Not seeing that with every strain
The bonds close firmer over thee;
Or grasping blindly in thy hate
The temple pillars of the State,
To hurl them down on friend and foe,
Crushed in one common overthrow
Can none of all thy Poet band
Preach nobler aims, loved Ireland?
As David drove with magic chords
The Evil Spirit back to night;
As Moses by his mighty words
Led Egypt’s bondmen up to light;
Hast thou no Poet, strong to calm
Thy troubled soul with holy psalm?
Or trusted Chief, who, safely on
Across the fatal Rubicon,
Could lead thee with pure heart and hand
To Freedom—my own Ireland?
By those doomed men, in dull despair
Slow wasting in a dungeon’s gloom;
By all youth’s fiery heart can dare
Quenched in the prison’s living tomb
By the corroding felon chain,
That tortures with Promethean pain
Of vultures gnawing at the core
Of their lost lives for evermore
I ask you, People of our Land,
Have ye done well for Ireland?
By History traced on dungeon walls,
By scaffolds, chains, and exiles’ tears,
Slow marking, as the shadow falls,
The mournful sequence of the years;

By genius crushed and progress barred,
By noble aspirations marred,
Till with a smouldering fire’s life
They burn in deadly hate and strife
I ask you, Rulers of our Land,
Have ye done well for Ireland?
O Men! these men are brothers too,
Tho’ frenzied by a fatal dream,
Their living souls were meant to do
Some noble work in God’s great scheme,
Perchance to hew down, branch and root,
The tree that bore such bitter fruit;
But, left unguided in the Right,
They grope out blindly in the night
Of their dark passions; striking down
Their Country’s proud hopes with their own.
But now, ye say, the Land hath rest
Aye, with the death weights on her eyes;
And fettered arms across her breast,
And mail’d hands stifling down her cries.
So rests a corpse within the grave
O’er which the charnal grasses wave.
Oh, better far some kindly word
To stay the vengeance‐lifted sword,
Or Love, with queenly, outstretched hand,
To soothe thee—fated Ireland!
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