Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
86. A Farewell to Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan
By James Clarence Mangan (Translated)
FAREWELL, O Patrick Sarsfield, may luck be on your path!
Your camp is broken up, your work is marred for years;
But you go to kindle into flame the King of France’s wrath,
Though you leave sick Eire in tears—
  Och, ochone!        5
May the white sun and moon rain glory on your head,
All hero as you are, and holy man of God!
To you the Saxons owe a many an hour of dread
In the land you have often trod—
  Och, ochone!        10
The Son of Mary guard, and bless you to the end!
’Tis altered is the time when your legions were astir,
When at Cullen you were hailed as conqueror and friend,
And you crossed Narrow-water near Birr,—
  Och, ochone!        15
I’ll journey to the north, over mount, moor, and wave;
’Twas there I first beheld drawn up, in file and line,
The brilliant Irish hosts; they were bravest of the brave.
But alas, they scorned to combine—
  Och, ochone!        20
I saw the royal Boyne when his billows flashed with blood
I fought at Graine Og, when a thousand horsemen fell;
On the dark empurpled plain of Aughrim, too, I stood,
On the plain by Tubberdonny’s well—
  Och, ochone!        25
To the heroes of Limerick, the City of the Fights,
Be my best blessing borne on the wings of the air;
We had card-playing there o’er our camp fires at night,
And the Word of Life, too, and prayer—
  Och, ochone!        30
But for you, Londerderry, may plague smite and slay
Your people! May ruin desolate you stone by stone!
Through you there’s many a gallant youth lies coffinless today
With the winds for mourners alone—
  Och, ochone!        35
I clomb the high hill on a fair summer noon,
And saw the Saxons muster, clad in armour blinding bright:
Oh, rage withheld my hand, or gunsman and dragoon
Should have supped with Satan that night!—
  Och, ochone!        40
How many a noble soldier, how many a cavalier,
Careered along this road, seven fleeting weeks ago,
With silver-hilted sword, with matchlock and with spear,
Who now, mavrone! lieth low—
  Och, ochone!        45
All hail to thee, Beinn Eidir but ah, on thy brow
I see a limping soldier, who battled and who bled
Last year in the cause of the Stuart, though now
The worthy is begging his bread—
  Och, ochone!        50
And Diarmid oh, Diarmid he perished in the strife;
His head it was spiked upon a halberd high;
His colours they were trampled: he had no chance of life
If the Lord God Himself stood by!—
  Och, ochone!        55
But most, oh my woe I lament and lament
For the ten valient heroes who dwelt nigh the Nore,
And my three blessed brothers; they left me and went
To the wars, and returned no more—
  Och, ochone!        60
On the bridge of the Boyne was our first overthrow;
By Slaney the next, for we battled without rest;
The third was at Aughrim. O Eire! thy woe
Is a sword in my bleeding breast—
  Och, ochone!        65
Oh, the roof above our heads, it was barbarously fired,
While the black Orange guns blazed and bellowed around!
And as volley followed volley, Colonel Mitchel inquired
Whether Lucan still stood his ground?—
  Och, ochone!        70
But O’Kelly still remains, to defy and to toil,
He has memories that hell won’t permit him to forget,
And a sword that will make the blue blood flow like oil
Upon many an Aughrim yet!—
  Och, ochone!        75
And I never shall believe that my fatherland can fall
With the Burkes, and the Dukes, and the son of Royal James,
And Talbot, the captain, and Sarsfield above all,
The beloved of damsels and dames—
  Och, ochone!        80
Sarsfield was leader of the Irish in the wars that closed the seventeenth century. He is famous in Irish story as the defender of Limerick; his surrender of the city meant the end of organised Irish resistance for two hundred years. After that Sarsfield with most of his army sailed for France, where they took service with Louis XIV. He was killed at the battle of Landen in 1693. As he drew from his bosom his hand that was covered with his heart’s blood he said, “Would that this were for Ireland.” By the way, the name Patrick or Padraic came into fashion amongst the Irish, not out of veneration of the saint, but in memory of Patrick Sarsfield.


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