Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Bless the Dear Old Verdant Land

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Denis Florence MacCarthy 1817–82

Bless the Dear Old Verdant Land

BLESS the dear old verdant land!

Brother, wert thou born of it?

As thy shadow life doth stand

Twining round its rosy band,

Did an Irish mother’s hand

Guide thee in the morn of it?

Did a father’s first command

Teach thee love or scorn of it?

Thou who tread’st its fertile breast,

Dost thou feel a glow for it?

Thou of all its charms possest,

Living on its first and best,

Art thou but a thankless guest

Or a traitor foe for it?

If thou lovest, where ’s the test?

Wilt thou strike a blow for it?

Has the past no goading sting

That can make thee rouse for it?

Does thy land’s reviving spring,

Full of buds and blossoming,

Fail to make thy cold heart cling,

Breathing lover’s vows for it?

With the circling ocean’s ring

Thou wert made a spouse for it.

Hast thou kept as thou shouldst keep

Thy affections warm for it,

Letting no cold feeling creep

Like an ice-breath o’er the deep,

Freezing to a stony sleep

Hopes the heart would form for it,

Glories that like rainbows peep

Through the darkening storm for it?

Son of this down-trodden land,

Aid us in the fight for it.

We seek to make it great and grand,

Its shipless bays, its naked strand,

By canvas-swelling breezes fanned:

Oh, what a glorious sight for it,

The past expiring like a brand

In morning’s rosy light for it!

Think, this dear old land is thine,

And thou a traitor slave of it:

Think how the Switzer leads his kine,

When pale the evening star doth shine;

His song has home in every line,

Freedom in every stave of it;

Think how the German loves his Rhine

And worships every wave of it!

Our own dear land is bright as theirs,

But oh! our hearts are cold for it;

Awake! we are not slaves, but heirs.

Our fatherland requires our cares,

Our speech with men, with God our prayers;

Spurn blood-stain’d Judas gold for it:

Let us do all that honor dares—

Be earnest, faithful, bold for it!