Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
The Exile’s Devotion
 
Thomas D’Arcy McGee (1825–68)
 
 
IF I forswear the art divine
  That glorifies the dead,
What comfort then can I call mine,
  What solace seek instead?
For from my birth our country’s fame        5
  Was life to me, and love;
And for each loyal Irish name
  Some garland still I wove.
 
I ’d rather be the bird that sings
  Above the martyr’s grave,        10
Than fold in fortune’s cage my wings
  And feel my soul a slave;
I ’d rather turn one simple verse
  True to the Gaelic ear
Than sapphic odes I might rehearse        15
  With senates listening near.
 
Oh, native land! dost ever mark,
  When the world’s din is drown’d
Betwixt the daylight and the dark,
  A wandering solemn sound        20
That on the western wind is borne
  Across thy dewy breast?
It is the voice of those who mourn
  For thee, in the far West.
 
For them and theirs I oft essay        25
  Thy ancient art of song,
And often sadly turn away,
  Deeming my rashness wrong;
For well I ween, a loving will
  Is all the art I own:        30
Ah me! could love suffice for skill,
  What triumphs I had known!
 
My native land! my native land!
  Live in my memory still!
Break on my brain, ye surges grand!        35
  Stand up, mist-cover’d hill!
Still on the mirror of the mind
  The scenes I love, I see:
Would I could fly on the western wind,
  My native land, to thee!        40
 

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