Jane Wilde

27 December 1821 – 3 February 1896

Who Will Show Us Any Good?

Beautiful Ireland! Who will preach to thee?
Souls are waiting for lips to vow;
And outstretched hands, that fain would reach to thee,
Yearn to help, if they knew but how,
To lift the thorn‐wreath off thy brow.

Passionate dreamers have fought and died for thee,
Poets poured forth their lava song;
But dreamer and poet have failed as a guide for thee
Still are unriven the chains of wrong.

Suffering Ireland! Martyr‐Nation!
Blind with tears thick as mountain mist;
Can none amidst all the new generation
Change them to glory, as hills sun‐kissed
Flash lights of opal and amethyst?

Welcome a Hero! A man to lead for us,
Sifting true men from chaff and weeds;
Daring and doing as those who, indeed, for us
Proved their zeal by their life and deeds.

Desolate Ireland! Saddest of mothers,
Waits and weeps in her island home;
But the Western Land—has she help for others
Who feeds her eagles on blood of brothers?
Not with cannon or roll of drum,
Or foreign flag can our triumph come.

Why seek aid from the arm of a stranger?
Trust thy sons, O Mother! for good;
Braver can none be in hours of danger,
Proudly claiming thy rights withstood.
Then, Ireland! wake from thy vain despairing!
Grand the uses of life may be;
Heights can be reached by heroic daring,
Crowns are won by the brave and free,
And Nations create their own destiny.

But, Time and the hour fleet fast unbidden,
A turbid stream over golden sands;
And too often the gold is scattered or hidden,
While we stand by with listless hands.

Then seize the least grain as it glistens and passes,
Swift and sure is that river’s flight:
The glory of morning the bright wave glasses,
But the gold and glory soon fade from sight,
And noon‐tide splendours will change to night.

Ah! life is too brief for languor or quarrel,
Second by second the dead dropp down;
And souls, all eager to strive for the laurel,
Faint and fall ere they win the crown.

Ireland rests mid the rush of progression,
As a frozen ship in a frozen sea;
And the changeless stillness of life’s stagnation,
Is worse than the wildest waves could be,
Rending the rocks eternally.

Then, trumpet‐tongued, to a people sleeping,
Who will speak with magic command,
Bidding them rise—these dead men, keeping
Watch by the dead in a silent land?

Grandly, solemnly, earnestly preaching,
Man’s great gospel of Truth and light;
With lips like saints’ in their love beseeching,
Hands as strong as a prophet’s to smite
The foes to Humanity’s sacred right.
Earth is thrilling with new aspirations,
Rending the fetters that bar and ban;
But we alone of the Christian nations
Fall to the rear in the march of Man.

Alas! can I help? but a nameless singer
Weak the words of a woman to save;
We wait the advent of some light‐bringer,
Strong to roll the stone from the grave,
And summon to life the death‐bound slave.

Down from heights of the Infinite drifting,
Raising the prisoned soul from gloom;
Like the white angels of God uplifting
Seal and stone from the Saviour’s tomb.
Yet, hear me now, for a Nation pleading;
Strike! but with swords yet keener than steel;
Flash on the path the new Age is treading,
As sparks from grooves of the iron wheel,
In star‐flames its onward march reveal.

Work by the shore where our broad ocean rages,
Bridging it over by wraiths of steam;
Linking two worlds by a chain that sages
Forged in the heat of a science dream.

For Nature has stamped us with brand immortal,
Highway of nations our Land must be:
We hold the keys of the Old‐world portal,
We guard the pass of the Western Sea
Ireland, sole in her majesty!

Work! there is work for the thinker and doer,
And glory for all when the goal is won;
So we are true to our Country, or truer
Than Planets are to the central Sun.

Call from the hills our own Irish Eagle,
Spread its plumes on the “The Green” of old;
With a sunrise blaze, as a mantle regal,
Turning the dust‐brown wings to gold
Symbol and flag be it then unrolled!

Face Heaven’s light with as proud a daring,
Tread the heights with a step as grand,
Breast the wild storm with brave hearts unfearing
As kings might do for their rightful land.

Irish daring by land and by river,
Irish wealth from mountain and mine,
Irish courage so strong to deliver,
Irish love as strong to combine
Separate chords in one strain divine;

These are the forces of conquering power,
Chains to sever, if slaves we be;
Then strike in your might, O Men of the hour!
And Ireland springs on the path of the free!
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