Australian Folk Songs

songs | books | records | articles | glossary | links | search | responses | home

"When Erin First Rose" (1864)
Air.--Ardharc na Eire.

When Erin first rose from the dark swelling flood,
God bless'd the green Island, and saw it was good :
In the ring of the World it sparkled and shone--
"The Emerald Isle,"-- in its beauty alone ;
In her sun, in her soils in her station thrice blest.
With her back to proad Britain, her face to the West.
Erin stood in her freedom and strength on her shore
While she struck her wild harp 'mid the Ocean's deep roar.

But, now, when its tones seem to mourn and to weep,
The dark chain of Silence is thrown o'er the deep ;
At the thought of the past tears gush from her eyes,
And the pulse of her heart makes her fair bosom rise
Oh ! ye Sons of green Erin, lament o'er the time
When Religion was Hate, and our Country a crime ;
When men (in God's image) inverted his plan,
And moulded their God in the image of man.

By the groans that ascend from your forefathers' graves,
For their Country degraded by Tyrants and Slaves,
Cast the chains from your minds, and be free once again,
And where Britain made brutes--now let Erin make men.
Let my Sons, like the leaves of the Shamrock, unite,
While, unsullied by crime, they demand but their right :
Give each his full share of the Earth and the Sky,
Nor fatten the Slave where the Serpent would die.


From the Sydney Newpaper the Freeman's Journal 19 Jan 1864 p. 6.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory