Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
126. Lament for Banba
By James Clarence Mangan (Translated)
O MY land! O my love!
    What a woe, and how deep,
Is thy death to my long mourning soul!
  God alone, God above,
  Can awake thee from sleep,        5
Can release thee from bondage and dole!
  Alas, alas, and alas!
    For the once proud people of Banba!
As a tree in its prime,
  Which the axe layeth low,        10
Didst thou fall, O unfortunate land!
  Not by time, nor thy crime,
  Came the shock and the blow.
They were given by a false felon hand!
  Alas, alas, and alas!        15
    For the once proud people of Banba!
O, my grief of all griefs
  Is to see how thy throne
Is usurped, whilst thyself art in thrall!
  Other lands have their chiefs,        20
  Have their kings, thou alone
Art a wife, yet a widow withal!
  Alas, alas, and alas!
    For the once proud people of Banba!
The high house of O’Neill        25
  Is gone down to the dust,
The O’Brien is clanless and banned;
  And the steel, the red steel
  May no more be the trust
Of the Faithful and Brave in the land!        30
  Alas, alas, and alas!
    For the once proud people of Banba!
True, alas! Wrong and Wrath
  Were of old all too rife.
Deeds were done which no good man admires        35
  And perchance Heaven hath
  Chastened us for the strife
And the blood-shedding ways of our sires!
  Alas, alas, and alas!
    For the once proud people of Banba!        40
But, no more! This our doom,
  While our hearts yet are warm,
Let us not over weakly deplore!
  For the hour soon may loom
  When the Lord’s mighty hand        45
Shall be raised for our rescue once more!
  And all our grief shall be turned into joy
    For the still proud people of Banba!
Banba is Ireland in the heroic aspect, as Fodhla is Ireland in the intellectual and spiritual aspect, as Eire is Ireland geographically. Egan O’Rahilly was one of the Munster poets of the eighteenth century. His poems are published by the Irish Texts Society.


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