Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Crossing the Blackwater

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

Robert Dwyer Joyce 1830–83

Crossing the Blackwater

WE stood so steady,

All under fire,

We stood so steady,

Our long spears ready

To vent our ire:

To dash on the Saxon,

Our mortal foe,

And lay him low

In the bloody mire.

’T was by Blackwater,

When snows were white,

’T was by Blackwater,

Our foes for the slaughter

Stood full in sight;

But we were ready

With our long spears,

And we had no fears

But we ’d win the fight.

Their bullets came whistling

Upon our rank,

Their bullets came whistling,

Their spears were bristling

On th’ other bank:

Yet we stood steady,

And each good blade,

Ere the morn did fade,

At their life-blood drank.

“Hurrah! for Freedom!”

Came from our van,

“Hurrah! for Freedom!

Our swords—we ’ll feed ’em

As best we can—

With vengeance we ’ll feed ’em!”

Then down we crash’d,

Through the wild ford dash’d,

And the fray began.

Horses to horses,

And man to man:

O’er dying horses,

And blood and corses,


Our general, thunder’d,

And we were not slack

To slay at his back

Till the fight began.

O, how we scatter’d

The foemen then,—

Slaughter’d and scatter’d,

And chas’d and shatter’d,

By shore and glen!

To the wall of Moyallo

Few fled that day:

Will they bar our way

When we come again?

Our dead freres we buried,

They were but few,

Our dead freres we buried

Where the dark waves hurried,

And flash’d and flew:

O sweet be their slumber

Who thus have died

In the battle’s tide,

Inisfail, for you!