The Great War

from Herb o' Grace, an electronic edition


Oh, when the land is white as milk

With bloom that lets no leaf between,

When trees are clad in grass-green silk

And thrushes sing in a gold screen:

What is it ails Dark Rosaleen?

Why is the banshee in the night

Crying for all the young men gone?

Now when the world with bloom is white,

When the good sun's warm on the stone,

Why does the Woman of Death make moan?

As one who is not comforted,

I heard in every lonely glen

Dark Rosaleen cry for her dead

And for her dying race of men.

Dark Rosaleen, take heart again!

For, oh, there's God in His high place

And Patrick seated by His side

To judge with Him the Irish race;

And Columcille, Kieran and Bride

Shall not forget before God's Face.

There's Mary of the Seven Swords,

Queen of the Gael -- oh, many a saint,

With Oliver Plunkett to look towards

The Mercy Seat, with praise and plaint,

For Rosaleen, ever the Lord's.

Oh, weep no more, Dark Rosaleen!

Menace and terror pass you by.

Oh, loved beyond the sceptred queen,

Dark Rosaleen for whom men die!

And loved till death, Dark Rosaleen.