hibernia, moore and the muses

irish (1)
Image: Newark Public Library

When England’s blood-red lion spread
        Destruction through the land;
And vanquish’d freedom frighted fled,
        Before the tyrant’s hand;

The drooping harp Hibernia hung,
        In sorrow—for her fall,
Neglected, silent, and unstrung,
        In Tara’s lonely hall.

“Rest here, forlorn harp,” she said,
        “No hand thy sleep shall break;
No slave thy free-born fame shall wed,
        Or thy sweet strains awake.

On thee the light of beauty’s eyes,
        No more shall fondly beam,
Despondence dark and constant sighs,
        Shall crowd thy woe-fraught dream.

The sky shall be thy roof of blue,
        The dews thy tears of grief;
Thy shade the ivy’s dusky hue,
        Thy wreath the nightshade’s leaf.

Farewell, fond harp, we now must part,
        No more to hear thy songs,
Till Freedom’s voice shall rouse some heart,
        To vindicate thy wrongs.”

The muses, trembling, heard the vow,
        The weeping goddess made,
And straight to Tara’s verdant brow,
        The maids of music stray’d.

The awful mandate to revoke,
        The goddess they implore—
Her heart relented while they spoke,
        And gave her Harp to Moore.

Whether Dublin-born poet, entertainer, satirist and patriot Thomas Moore stopped in Newark on his 1804 American tour is unrecorded, but his compositions—especially the Irish Melodies—inspired countless local versifiers and songwriters. The anonymous ode above was printed in the Newark Daily Advertiser of August 15, 1832.

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