Category Archives: Thomas Osborne Davis

The Lost Path by Thomas Osborne Davis

“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.

Our National Monuments, Thomas Osborne Davis

Having shown the steps taken in France to protect National Monuments Davis wrote:

And has Ireland no monuments of her history to guard, has she no tables of stone, no pictures, no temples, no weapons? Are there no Brehon chairs on her hills to tell more clearly than Vallancey, or Davis, how justice was administered here, ? Do you not meet the Druid’s altar and the Gueber’s tower in every barony almost, and the Ogham stones in many a sequestered spot; and shall we spend time and money to see, to guard, or to decipher Indian topes and Tuscan graves and Egyptian hieroglyphics, and shall every nation in Europe shelter and study the remains of what it once was, even as one guards the tomb of a parent, and shall Ireland let all go to ruin?

We have seen pigs housed in the piled friezes of a broken church, cows stabled in the palaces of the Desmonds, and corn threshed on the floors of abbeys and the sheep and the tearing wind tenant the corridors of Aileach.

Daily are more and more of our crosses broken, of our tombs effaced, of our abbeys shattered, of our castles torn down, or of our cairns sacrilegiously pierced, of our urns broken up, and of our coins melted down. All classes, creeds and politics are to blame for this…

How our children will despise us for all this! Why shall we seek for histories, why make museums, why study the manners of the dead, when we foully neglect or barbarously spoil their homes, their castles, their temples, their colleges, their courts, their graves? He who tramples on the past does not create for the future. The same ignorant and vagabond spirit which made him destructive prohibits him from creating for posterity.

Oh! The Marriage by Thomas Osborne Davis

Oh! The marriage, the marriage,
With love and mo bhuachail for me,
The ladies that ride in a carriage
Might envy my marriage to me;
For Eoghan is straight as a tower,
And tender and loving and true,
He told me more love in an hour
Than the Squires of the county could do.

Then, oh! The marriage, the marriage,
With love and mo bhuachail for me,
The ladies that ride in a carriage
Might envy my marriage to me;

His hair is a shower of soft gold,
His eye is as clear as the day,
His conscience and vote were unsold
When others were carried away;
His word is as good as an oath,
And freely ’twas given to me;
Oh! Sure ’twill be happy for both
The day of our marriage to see.

Then, oh! The marriage, the marriage,
With love and mo bhuachail for me,
The ladies that ride in a carriage,
Might envy my marriage to me.

His kinsmen are honest and kind,
Their neighbours think much of his skill,
And Eoghan’s the lad to my mind,
Though he owns neither castle nor mill.
But he has a tilloch of land,
A horse and a stocking of coin,
A foot for a dance and a hand
In the cause of his country to join.

Then, oh! The marriage, the marriage,
With love and mo bhuachail for me,
The ladies that ride in a carriage,
Might envy my marriage to me.

We meet in the market and fair –
We meet in the morning and night –
He sits on the half of my chair,
And my people are wild with delight,
Yet I long through the winter to skim,
Though Eoghan longs more I can see,
When I will be married to him ,
And he will be married to me.

Then, oh! The marriage, the marriage,
With love and mo bhuachaill for me.
The ladies that ride in a carriage
Might envy my marriage to me.

Air: The Swaggering Jig.

The Rivers by Thomas Osborne Davis

There’s a far-famed Blackwater that runs to Loch Neagh;
There’s a fairer Blackwater that runs to the sea –
The glory of Ulster,
The beauty of Munster,
These twin rivers be.

From the banks of that river Benburb’s towers arise;
This stream shines as bright as a tear from sweet eyes;
This fond as a young bride,
That with foeman’s blood dyed –
Both dearly we prize.

Deep sunk in that bed is the sword of Monroe,
Since ‘twixt it and Oonagh, he met Owen Roe,
And Charlemont’s cannon
Slew many a man on
These meadows below.

The shrines of Armagh gleam far over yon lea,
Nor afar is Dungannon that nursed liberty,
And yonder Red Hugh
Marshal Bagenal o’erthrew
On Béal-an-atha-Buidhe.

But far kinder the woodlands of rich Convamore,
And more gorgeous the turrets of saintly lismore;
There the srteam, like a maiden
With love overladen,
Pants wild on each shore

It’s rocks rise like statues, tall, stately and fair,
And the trees and the flowers, and the mountains and air,
With Wonder’s soul near you.
To share with, and cheer you,
Make Paradise there.

I would love by that stream, ere my flag I unrolled;
I would fly to these banks my bethrothed to enfold –
The pride of our sireland,
The Eden of Ireland,
More precious than gold.

May their bodies be free from opression and blight;
May their daughters and sone ever fondly unite –
The glory of Ulster,
The beauty of munster,
Our strength and delight.

Air: Kathleen O’More

The Penal Days by Thomas Osborne Davis

Oh! Weep those days the penal days
When Ireland hopelessly complained.
Oh! Weep those days, the penal days,
When Godless persecution reigned;
When year by year,
For serf and peer,
Fresh cruelties were made by law,
And, filled with hate,
Our senate sate
To weld anew each fetter’s flaw.
Oh! Weep those days, those penal days –
Their memory still on Ireland weighs.

They bribed the flock, they bribed the son,
To sell the priest and rob the sire;
Their dogs were taught alike to run
Upon the scent of wolf and friar.
Among the poor,
Or on the moor,
Were hid the pious and the true –
While traitor knave,
And recreant slave,
Had riches, rank and retinue;
And, exiled in those penal days,
Our banners over Europe blaze.

A stranger held the land and tower
Of many a noble fugitive;
No popish lord had lordly power,
The peasant scarce had leave to live:
Above his head
A ruined shed,
No tenure but a tyrant’s wil –
Forbid to plead,
Forbid to read,
Disarmed, disfranchised, imbecile –
What wonder if our step betrays
The freedman born in penal days?

They’re gone, they’re gone, those penal days!
All creeds are equal in our isle:
Then grant, O Lord, thy plenteous grace,
Our ancient feuds to reconcile.
Let all atone
For blood and groan,
For dark revenge and open wrong:
Let all unite
For Ireland’s right,
And drown our griefs in freedoms song:
Till time shall veil in twilight haze,
The memory of those penal days.

My Land

She is a rich and rare land;
Oh! she’s a fresh and fair land;
She is a dear and rare land –
This native land of mine.

No men than her’s are braver –
her women’s hearts never waver;
I’d freely die to save her,
And think my lot divine.

She’s not a dull or cold land;
No! She’s a warm and bold land;
Oh! she’s a true and old land –
This native land of mine.

Could beauty ever guard her,
And virtue still reward her,
no foe would cross her border –
no friend within it pine!

Oh” she’s a fresh and fair land;
Oh! she’s a true and rare land;
Yes! She’s a rare and fair land –
This native land of mine.

Lament For the Death of Eoghan Ruadh O’Neill

Written by Thomas Osborne Davis. The poem, or part of it, was read at the funeral of John F. Kennedy by his brother.

“Did they dare, did they dare, to slay Eoghan Ruadh O’Neill?”
“Yes, they slew with poison him they feared to meet with steel.”
“May God wither up their hearts! May their blood cease to flow,
May they walk in living death, who poisoned Eoghan Ruadh.”

“Though it break my heart to hear, say again the bitter words.
From Derry, against Cromwell, he marched to measure swords:
but the weapon of the Sassanach met him on his way.
And he died at Clogh Uachtar, upon St. Leonard’s day.”

“Wail, wail ye for the Mighty One. Wail, wail ye for the Dead.
Quench the hearth, and hold the breath – with ashes strew the head.
How tenderly we loved him. How deeply we deplore!
Holy Saviour! But to think we shall never see him more!”

“Sagest in the council was he, kindest in the hall,
Sure we never won a battle -”Twas Owen won them all.
Had he lived – had he lived – our dear country had been free:
But he’s dead, but he’s dead, and ’tis slaves we’ll ever be.”

“O’Farrell and Clanricarde, Preston and Red Hugh,
Audley and MacMahon, ye valiant, wises and true;
But – what are ye all doing to our darling who is gone?
The Rudder of our Ship was he, our Castle’s corner stone.”

“Wail, wail him through the Island! Weep, weep for our pride!
Would that on the battle field our gallant chief had died!
Weep the Victor of Beinn Burb – weep him young and old:
Weep for him, ye women – your beautiful lies cold!”

“We thought you would not die – we were sure you would not go,
And leave us in out utmost need to Cromwell’s cruel blow –
Sheep without a shepherd, when the snow shuts our the sky –
O! why did you leave us, Eoghan? Why did you die?”

“Soft as woman’s was your voice, O’Neill! Bright was your eye,
O! why did you leave us Eoghan? Why did you die?
Your troubles are all over, you’re at rest with God on high,
But we’re slaves, and we’re orphans, Eoghan! – why did you die?”

The Banks of the Lee

Oh! The banks of the Lee, the banks of the Lee,
And love in a cottage for Mary and me;
Ther’s not in the land a lovlier tide,
And I’m sure there’s no one as fair as my bride.

She’s modest and meek,
There’s a down on her cheek,
And her skin is as sleek
As a butterfly’s wing –
Then her step would scarce show
On the fresh fallen snow;
And her whisper is low,
But as clear as the spring.

Oh! The banks of the Lee, the banks of the Lee,
And love in a cottage for Mary and me;
I do not know how love is happy elsewhere;
I do not know how any but lovers are there.

Oh! So green is the grass, so clear is the stream,
So mild is the mist, and so rich is the beam,
That beauty should ne’er to other lands roam,
But make on the banks of the river its home.
When, dripping with dew,
The roses peep through,
‘Tis to look in at you
They are growing so fast;
While the scent of the flowers
Must be hoarded for hours,
‘Tis poured in such showers
When my Mary goes past.

Oh! The banks of the Lee, the banks of the Lee,
And love in a cottage for Mary and me –
Oh! Mary for me – oh! Mary for me!
And ’tis little I’d sigh for the banks of the Lee!

Air: A trip to the Cottage.

My Grave

Shall they bury me in the deep,
Where wind-forgetting waters sleep?
Shall they dig a grave for me
Under the greenwood tree?
Or on the wild heath,
Where the wilder breath
Of the storm doth blow?
Oh, no! oh, no!

Shall they bury me in the palace tombs,
or under the sahde of cathedral domes?
Sweet ’twere to lie on Italy’s shore;
Yet not there – nor in Greece, though I love it more.
In the wolf or the vulture my grave shall I find?
Shall my ashes career on the world seeing wind?
Shall they fling my corpse in the battle mound,
where coffinless thousands lie under the ground?
Just as the fall and are buried so –
Oh, no! oh, no!

No! on an Irish green hillside,
or an opening lawn, but not too wide;
For I love the drip of the wetted trees –
I love not the gales, but a gentle breeze,
To freshen the turf; put no tombstone there,
but green sods, decked with daisies fair;
nor sods too deep, but so that the dew,
The matted grass roots may trickle through.
Be my epitaph writ on my country’s mind:

Oh! ’twere merry unto the grave to go,
if one were sure to be buried so.

Nationality by Thomas Osborne Davis

A Nation’s voice, a nation’s voice –
It is a solemn thing!
It bids the bondage-sick rejoice –
‘Tis stronger than a king.
‘Tis like the light of many stars,
The sound of many waves;
Which brightly look through prison bars,
And sweetly sound in caves.
Yet is it noblest, godliest known,
When righteous triumph swells its tone.

A nation’s flag, a nation’s flag –
If wickedly unrolled,
May foes in adverse battle drag
Its every fold from fold.
But in the causes of Liberty,
Guard it ‘gainst Earth and Hell;
Guard it till Death or Victory –
Look you, guard it well!
No saint or king has tomb so proud,
As he whose flag becomes his shroud.

A nation’s right, a nation’s right –
God gave it, and gave, too,
A nation’s sword, a nation’s might,
Danger to guard it through.
‘Tis freedom from a foreign yoke,
‘Tis just and equal laws,
which deal unto the humblest folk,
As in a noble’s cause.
On nations fixed in right and truth,
God would bestow eternal youth.

May Ireland’s voice be ever heard
Amid the world’s applause!
And never may her flag-staff stirred,
But in and honest cause!
May freedom be her very breath,
be justice ever dear;
and never an ennobled death
May son of Ireland fear!
So the Lord God will ever smile,
With guardian grace, upon our isle.