The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

"To the Irish Dead"

The author of these heart--touching lines is a Queenslander of Welsh derivation. Sir Herbert Warren, K. C. V. O., of the University of Oxford, had this to say of him and of the Toast: "They say that no one but an Irishman understands Ireland, that she will listen to no one but Irishman. Wales is near to her in geography and in race. I have thought she perhaps might listen to a Welsh voice, She has one today, now whispering, now ringing, across St. George's Channel. Will she heed it? Who knows?"

TIS a green isle set in a silver water,

A fairy isle where the shamrock grows,

Land of Legend, the Dream--Queen's daughter--

Out of the Fairies' hands she rose.

They touched her harp with a tender sighing,

A spirit-song from a world afar,

They touched her heart with a fire undying

To fight and follow her battle-star.

Too long, too long thro' the grey years growing

Feud and faction have swept between

The thistledown and the red rose blowing,

And the three-fold leaf of the shamrock green;

But the seal of blood, ye shall break it never:

With rifles grounded and bare of head

We drink to the dead who live forever--

A silent toast--To the Irish dead!

Notes

The author of these heart--touching lines is a Queenslander of Welsh derivation. Sir Herbert Warren, K. C. V. O., of the University of Oxford, had this to say of him and of the Toast: "They say that no one but an Irishman understands Ireland, that she will listen to no one but Irishman. Wales is near to her in geography and in race. I have thought she perhaps might listen to a Welsh voice, She has one today, now whispering, now ringing, across St. George's Channel. Will she heed it? Who knows?"