Australian Folk Songs

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

Out Of The Land Of Bondage.
An Ode To Erin
Air.--Ardharc na Eire.

(Dedicated to Ireland's Patriots, Past and Present.)

Ay thou shalt win,
So sure as doth the world revolve its course,
So sure as Phoebe moves her diamond way,
So sure as all the sun's bright satellites
Move ever onward round the God of day.
As certain shall thy path to vict'ry load,
As certain shall thf triumph be complete,
As that these glorious worlds move ever on,
Bound on a course which man may never stay.

Ay, thou must win !
It is thy destiny. Through weary years
Though thou hast toiled for holy Freedom's prize,
The right to say thy shackled arms are thine,
The right to call thy country all thy own,
Toiled on through seven centuries of pain,
Buoyed up by Hope's elixir but to find
The cup of happiness dashed from thy lips
E'en as thou soughtest to taste its healing balm.

Yet thou shalt triumph !
Let the hoarse Commons roar its mocking jeers,
A servile Press recite its beads of lies,
A seething crowd of Ignorance proclaim
Thee traitor, jobber, pirate, what they will !
(Spread the white sails, and heed them not a wind,
Strong, fain resistless, bears thee on-thy way,
Stick to the helm and steer thy vessal right,
And cast thy anchor deep in Freedom's Bay.

And thou must triumph !
O'er the high mountains of the Future gaze,
Beholdest thou that little, brilliant star
That, slowly rising from the silver mists.
Drives back the shadows that envelop all,
And with its diamond flashes lights a scene
That hitherto slept bathed in horrid gloom.
Behold in it tho Star of Destiny,
Where is the nation that shall tear it down ?

Nowhere ! It is the herald of a brighter dawn
That soon shall burst on Erin, long a slave,
It is the prophet of a Freedom nigh
A Freedom that shall never die again ;
Electric light ! It pierces through the mists
Of Ignorance, of Bigotry, and Greed,
Its sacred rays illumine Holy Truth,
Too long a captive in the cells of Wrong.

At last ! At last ! The dream that buoy'd to vigour henrts of old,
The dream that woke the deeds of other days,
The dream that hover'd o'er tho Patriot's sleep,
And kissed his wak'ning vision, soothed his mind,
The dream that made immortal Grattan live,
That braced O'Connell, eager for the fray,
This dream is now a vast Reality,
Burst on the world that jeered it for a Dream.

Hark to the clarion sound !
It is tho note of vict'ry, Erin, hear !
It is the blast that heralds Freedom's reign.
Out in the golden sunshine it has stole.
And bounded o'er the purple, heath-clad hills !
Awake from slav'ry, dry those tears of pain,
Out of the land of bondage pass ye now,
Pass from the desert where thy lot has been
An exile drear of seven hundred years.

And triumph now !
Oh heroes of the past, not all in vain
Have been the struggles of your gallant lives,
When all was dark and hopeless, patriot blood
Washed the green sod in bright, enduring stream,
Whose waters, fed by countless torrent falls,
Have waxed into a mighty, roaring tide,
Sweeping away Coercion's pigmy dams,
And breaking up the flood-gates of Despair.

Brave hearts ! For such as this ye struggled, fought and died,
And ye have conquer'd, vict'ry draweth nigh ;
The wreath of Triumph crowning Erin's brows
Was twined by loving fingers long ago.
Your deeds are fondled by your countrymen
And cradled in their hearts as precious gems,
Link'd with the Past and stirring days of old,
Whose deeds have made the Present what it is.

Arise !
Island of Saints, of heroes, band ye now,
Across the distant vista look. Behold !
It is the land of promise rising clear,
Your own long-lost, beloved native land ;
Advance ye in your ranks and seize the prize,
And never more relinquish it again,
It is the heirloom of the Irish race,
That race of God preserv'd mirac'lously.

Well done !
Ilove thee, Erin, for thy patriot zeal,
I love thee for thy gallant deeds of yore,
I love thee for thy great fidelity,
In cruel penal days, to Church and creed,
I love thee for thine ancient chivalry,
And for the deeds that bid thy country live,
I love thee, though to do so buys the frown
Of Saxon hatred and of Saxon spite.

Dear land ! I care not, I will love thee, tho' thou be
The sport of Ministries, the jest of knaves,
I care not, I will love thee, for thou art
The victim of a cruel martydom
That needeth all the aid that love can bring
To soothe thine anguish and to cheer thee on.
Those very sufferings make me love thee more,
And long that Freedom's wreath shall crown thy brow.

And so it shall !
A glorious light is breaking all around,
And bathing Erin in its golden sheen ;
Out from the blue Atlantic bursts the isle,
Resplendent in its dawning liberty.
Vain be the wiles to drag it down again;
Or plunge itneath the billows of tho sea,
With new-born life it strikes its fetters clear,
Passing forever from Coercion's toils.

Fear not !
Triumph's bright mantle soon shall fall on thee,
Wrap it around thee, Erin, and withstand
The envious thrusts of Slander's poisoned darts ;
LEt thy brave sons defend thee valiantly,
And laugh to scorn the malice of thy foes,
Lift thy fair head forever from the dust,
Dry those sweet eyos which ne'er shall weep again,
Out of the land of bondage pass for aye.



From the Sydney Newpaper the Freeman's Journal 4 Apr 1886, p. 19 .


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory