May God reward the noble men who died
Endeavouring to liberate our land
Brave men who bled on plain and mountain-side,
And made a bold, if unsuccessful, stand.
What – unsuccessful? some would term it thus –
Yet theirs was vict’ry in the proper sense:
For patriots ever are victorious;
And glorious is the patriot’s recompense.
They fought and conquered the temptations strong,
That tried to lure them from their duty’s path;
O’er thorns and rugged rocks they toiled along,
And gained the crown held out to them by Death.
The gilded toys that tempt the weak of mind,
The life of ease and wealth, fond hopes and high,
Hearths, homes, and loves – they left them all behind,
For us and for their motherland to die.
Gold could not bribe them from the Cause they loved,
Death’s shadow could not frighten them away;
Freedom they loved, and by their death they proved
That they were ready Freedom’s price to pay.
Then let us honour them with honour due,
To follow in their sacred footsteps strive;
And manfully do all that men can do
To keep the Cause, for which they died, alive.
MICHAEL MULLIN, ‘The Bard of Foremass,
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone.