Home  »  library  »  poem  »  The Exile of Erin

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Exile of Erin

By Thomas Campbell (1777–1844)

THERE came to the beach a poor Exile of Erin,

The dew on his thin robe was heavy and chill:

For his country he sighed, when at twilight repairing

To wander alone by the wind-beaten hill:

But the day-star attracted his eye’s sad devotion,

For it rose o’er his own native isle of the ocean,

Where once, in the fire of his youthful emotion,

He sang the bold anthem of Erin go bragh.

Sad is my fate! said the heart-broken stranger;

The wild deer and wolf to a covert can flee,

But I have no refuge from famine and danger,

A home and a country remain not to me.

Never again, in the green sunny bowers

Where my forefathers lived, shall I spend the sweet hours,

Or cover my harp with the wild-woven flowers,

And strike to the numbers of Erin go bragh!

Erin, my country! though sad and forsaken,

In dreams I revisit thy sea-beaten shore;

But, alas! in a far foreign land I awaken,

And sigh for the friends who can meet me no more!

O cruel fate! wilt thou never replace me

In a mansion of peace, where no perils can chase me?

Never again shall my brothers embrace me?

They died to defend me, or live to deplore!

Where is my cabin door, fast by the wildwood?

Sisters and sire! did ye weep for its fall?

Where is the mother that looked on my childhood?

And where is the bosom-friend, dearer than all?

Oh! my sad heart! long abandoned by pleasure,

Why did it dote on a fast fading treasure?

Tears, like the raindrop, may fall without measure,

But rapture and beauty they cannot recall.

Yet all its sad recollections suppressing,

One dying wish my lone bosom can draw;

Erin! an exile bequeaths thee his blessing!

Land of my forefathers! Erin go bragh!

Buried and cold, when my heart stills her motion,

Green be thy fields, sweetest isle of the ocean!

And thy harp-striking bards sing aloud with devotion—

Erin mavournin—Erin go bragh!