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The Valley of the Boyne (1840)
To the Author of "The Convict's Grave."

I stood by the Boyne, where his dark flowing water
Had once been the mirror of combatting ranks,
Where the wailing of death and the redness of slaughter
Had come, like a storm, on his fair sunny banks.

And I gazed, till a dream of the battle came o'er me--
The war-horse was struggling in death by my side,
The proudest, the bravest, lay gasping around me,
And red rolled the Boyne with his blood-thick-ened tide.

But the sons of my country were falling and flying ;
In vain did her patriots point to the grave
Where Scomberg, the first of her foemen, breathed, dying,
As low as the lowest he came to enslave.

On rush'd the proud foe, through the dark flowing river;
He cross'd, and the faint-hearted monarch had fled--
The phantom of liberty vanish'd for ever,
And Erin was left with her slaves and her dead.

The victor was gone, and the battle was over,
And cold blew the wind o'er the corse-covered plain ;
And wild was the wailing for husband and lover--
For heroes who died for their country in vain.

My country is drooping--A shadow falls o'er her--
As lilies beneath the dark Upas decay ;
And, though she has sons who would die to restore her,
Alas ! she has others as prompt to betray.

Her defenders have fall'n, and their pillows are gory ;
Yet weep not, my isle ! they are gone to be free !
And their graves shall be lit by a halo of glory,
And Liberty's smile shall yet beam over thee.



From the Sydney newspaper the Australasian Chronicle 1 May 1840 p. 4.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory