The Lost Path by Thomas Osborne Davis

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“Miss Hutton was deeply affected by Davis’ death coming only a month after they had become engaged Writing to a friend she stated: “In the midst of all my sorrow, the thought flashes through me, what pride, what glory, to have been the chosen one of such a heart! Oh, if I were to live through an eternity of grief I would not give up the short month of happiness that little time of communion with all that was most pure, most holy on earth……. I try to think of all that he has been spared; no woman’s love would have saved him from bitter disappointment; no care of mine could have prevented his glorious spirit being bruised, crushed by the unworthiness of those he had to deal with ……. No ideal I could form could be brighter, purer than he was….. One little short month it was and yet a whole existance of my love, which, I pray will purify and raise my whole soul till it be wothy to join that bright one gone before”

Annie Hutton died on 7th June 1853 in her 28th year and is buried in St. George’s cemetery in Drumcondra.

Thomas Davis wrote of Annie:
“Her eyes are darker than Dunloe,
Her soul is whiter than the snow,
Her tresses like arbutus flow,
Her step like frightened deer:
The still thy waves, capricious lake!
And ceaseless, soft winds round her wake
Yet never bring a cloud to break
The smile of Fannie dear!

Old Mangerton! thy angel’s plume –
Dear Innisfallen! brighter bloom
And Muckross! whisper through the gloom
Quaint legends to her ear!
Till strong as ash tree in its pride,
And gay as sunbeam on the tide,
We welcome back to Liffey’s side
Our brightest Fannie dear.”

Judging by what Annie said of Thomas and his poem of her – he found that love.

Also, when he died his funeral was a public one. Everyone who was anyone in the country attended and everyone who anyone may have considered no one also attended.

The Nation in the report on his funeral wrote: “Irish soil holds no more precious dust than his. The brave life he led, and the noble work he did, are not lost – shall never be lost to the Island that he loved so dearly. Souls like his never die, but make a part of the history and the heart of their country for ever”

Poems mourning his death were written by Samuel Ferguson, John Fisher Murray, Dalton Williams, J.D. Frazer, Denis Florence McCarthy, Francis Davis, Martin MacDermot, Maurice O’Connell, Bartholomew Dowling, W. P. Mulchinock, ‘Eva’ and others – all the major poets of that time in other words.

Gavan Duffy described Samuel Fergusons’ poem as “the most celtic in structure and spirit of all the elegies laid on the tomb of Davis”

Final verse of Samuel Fergusons’ poem to Davis:

Oh, brave young men, my love, my pride, my promise,
‘Tis on you my hopes are set.
In manliness, in kindliness, in virtue,
To make Erin a Nation yet;
Self-respecting, self-relying, self-advancing,
In union or in severance, free and strong;
And if God grant this, then under God to Thomas Davis
Let the greater praise belong!

So – it seems that Davis also achieved ‘soldier’s fame’ and more than that.

His path was not lost – ‘The Lost Path’ – it’s “the love of my heart ” – “Ar grá mo chroí”

Thomas was on the right path and got his hearts desires – only he didn’t live long enough to enjoy them.

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