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ANONYMOUS


Ode to the Milesians

God shield you, champions of the Gael,

Never may your foes prevail;

Never were ye known to yield,

Basely in the embattled field.

Generous youths, in glittering arms,

Rouse at glory's shrill alarms;

Fight for your green native hills,

And flowery banks of flowing rills.

Ireland, to avenge or save,

Many a conflict you must brave;

And on rough crags in storms and snows,

Snatch a short though sound repose.

Slow to wrest your father's land

From the foreign spoiler's hand;

You forget its fields of flowers,

Its stately palaces and towers.

Not for lack of heart or nerve,

Bloated foreigners we serve;

Would to heaven, united all,

we resolved to stand or fall.

Oh grief of heart! proscribed at home,

Dispersed, our chiefs and princes roam

Through gloomy glens and forests wild,

Hunted like wolves - banditti stiled.

While a rude remorseless horde,

O'er our lovely vallies lord;

Their vengeful hosts, who round us close,

Rob my long nights of sweet repose.

Nor till you prostrate them in gore,

Can rapture thrill my bosom's core;

Empurpled squadrons bright in arms,

Your perils rack me with alarms.

No less will glut their savage hate,

Than root and branch to extirpate:

God guide and guard you day and night,

And chiefly in the dreadful fight.

Forth warriors, forth, with heaven to speed,

Proud in your country's cause to bleed;

They best may hope the victor's wreath,

Whose watch word's "liberty or death.

Translation: Edward Lawson