Preface to a Tragedy Part Two

3 minute read

The following is the ballad by Thomas Nielson Underwood, Barrister, Strabane, Ireland:



Young men and brave of Ireland, I sing this song for you,-
There is no land like Ireland, if to yourselves you’re true;
There is no coutnry like your own, if you would have it so,-
Nor crouch like slaves, while there are graves for despots high and low.


God never made a man to starve-they preach a lie who say
The land was made for thousands, and the millions for their prey-
The millions to endure and die, to perish like the weed,
Beneath the curse of alien laws, and brutal coward greed! \


Lo!, in the wilds of Donegal, where heather-bloom is spread
Round laek and cliff, on moor and meen, and to the mountain’s head,
Our cabin homes, our natal homes, our kindred’s homes, where they,
Lie ruined by the minons of the spolier of Glenveigh!


It was a dark and omened hour, what time the news was told,
The valley of our homesteads was to a stranger sold:
A savage-hearted Scotchman, who doomed our race to tears,
Though they had dwelt within the glen for twice a thousand years.


Upon a bitter morn in Marfch, the ruffian, base Adair,
With heart of mingled hate and feat, brought armed hundreds there;
Their bayonets drawn, as on they marched, the Sheriff moved before,
While crowbar men like hell-hounds yell, around the widow’s door.


Before they tore her roof-tree down, and struck her heart with gloom,
Three men of God implored Adair to save her from the doom;
He spurned them like an adder, and they turned aside to pray,
While Crhist, from His bright throne of grace, looked down upon Glenveigh.


He saw the aged-widow and her seven maidens pure-
The grandsire on his sick-bed stretched, the crippled, blind, and poor;
That hereto happy, harmless race, the people of the glen,
Flung from their homes upon the moor by rude and reckless men!


The wrecker and the sheriff, and the throng of armed slaves,
Moved on in desolation, like wreck-divided waves;
From house to house they passed along and razed them to the ground,
Till all along the mountains’ sides no standing cot was found.


And now the day was ended- a day made dark by hate -
Upon the moor beneath the night, He hundreds desolate;
Houseless, homeless, comfortless- banned broken-hearted men,
And friends are ther who’ll never meet upon this earth again!


The moon, pale, struggling through the mists, looked sadly from the skies;
The homeward falcon swept along-the rocks gave back his cries’
But, like the Saviour when on earth, no shelter, home had they-
The vanished, broken-down serfs - the outcasts of Glenveigh!


Let pen and voice proclaim their wrongs throughout the land, until
A sword is seen in every hand, a signal on each hill;
And raised the standard of revolt, wet with our blood and tears,
And Erin roused up with the wrath of Brian’s clans and peers!


T’were nobler far for men to die in freedom’s glorious fray,
Then crouch in fear and wait the fate that wildernessed Glenveigh!
And shall such rule continue, men? - shall thinkgs fore’er be so,
When you yourselves could end all wrong, by union and a blow?


When circled round the hearths at night, and mirth does most abound,
When sitting by the table and the cares of life are drwon’d,
Think, think, the Desolator has his eyes upon your home,-
Fix the day for your redemption, or his force and greed will come!