He toiled to make our story stand,
As from Time’s reverent, runic hand –
It came, undecked
By fancies false; erect, alone,
the monumental arctic stone
Of ages wrecked.
Truth was his solitary test,
His star, his chart, his east, his west ;
Nor is there aught
In text, in ocean, or in mine,
Of greater worth, or more divine
Than this he sought.
With gentle hand he rectified
The errors of old bardic pride,
And set aright
The story of our devious past,
And left it, as it now must last,
Full in the light.
The Dead Antiquary O’Donovan by Thomas D’Arcy McGee.