The Wake of William Orr

William Drennan
The Cabinet of Irish Literature (edited by Charles A. Read)
Volume 2

Here our murdered brother lies;

Wake him not with women’s cries.

Mourn the way that manhood ought;

Sit in silent trance of thought.

Write his merits on your mind:

Morals pure and manners kind;

In his head, as on a hill,

Virtue placed her citadel.

Why cut off in palmy youth?

Truth he spoke, and acted truth.

Countrymen, unite, he cried,

And died—for what his Saviour died.

God of Peace, and God of Love,

Let it not thy vengeance move,

Let it not thy lightnings draw,—

A nation guillotined by law.

Hapless nation! rent and torn,

Thou wert early taught to mourn,—

Warfare of six hundred years!

Epochs mark’d with blood and tears!

Hunted through thy native grounds,

Or flung reward to human hounds;

Each one pull’d and tore his share,

Heedless of thy deep despair!

Hapless nation—hapless land,

Heap of uncementing sand!

Crumbled by a foreign weight;

And by worse—domestic hate.

God of mercy! God of peace!

Make the mad confusion cease;

O’er the mental chaos move,

Through it speak the light of love.

Monstrous and unhappy sight!

Brothers’ blood will not unite;

Holy oil and holy water

Mix, and fill the world with slaughter.

Who is she with aspect wild?

The widow’d mother with her child,

Child new stirring in the womb!

Husband waiting for the tomb!

Angel of this sacred place,

Calm her soul and whisper peace;

Cord, or axe, or guillotin’

Make the sentence—not the sin.

Here we watch our brother’s sleep;

Watch with us, but do not weep;

Watch with us through dead of night,

But expect the morning light.

Conquer fortune—persevere!—

Lo! it breaks, the morning clear!

The cheerful cock awakes the skies,

The day is come—arise!—arise!