James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

September 20

O! Breathe Not His Name

By Thomas Moore (1779–1852)

  • Robert Emmett, at the age of twenty-five, put himself at the head of an unsuccessful rising in Dublin. His capture is said to have been the result of his returning to take leave of Miss Sarah Curran, to whom he was engaged. He was tried for treason on Sept. 19, 1803, found guilty and hanged the next day. He was buried near Kilmainham Hospital but his remains were said to have been moved either to St. Michan’s churchyard or to Glasnevin cemetery. An uninscribed tombstone is pointed out in each place as marking his grave.

  • O! BREATHE not his name! let it sleep in the shade,

    Where cold and unhonored his relics are laid;

    Sad, silent, and dark be the tears that we shed,

    As the night dew that falls on the grave o’er his head.

    But the night dew that falls, though in silence it weeps,

    Shall brighten with verdure the grave where he sleeps;

    And the tear that we shed, though in secret it rolls,

    Shall long keep his memory green in our souls.