Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NATIONALITY, by THOMAS OSBORNE DAVIS



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NATIONALITY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A nation's voice, a nation's voice
Last Line: With guardian grace, upon our isle.
Subject(s): Nationalism - Ireland


I.

A NATION'S voice, a nation's voice --
It is a solemn thing!
It bids the bondage-sick rejoice --
'Tis stronger than a king.
'Tis like the light of many stars,
The sound of many waves;
Which brightly look through prison-bars;
And sweetly sound in caves.
Yet is it noblest, godliest known,
When righteous triumph swells its tone.

II.

A nation's flag, a nation's flag --
If wickedly unrolled,
May foes in adverse battle drag
Its every fold from fold.
But, in the cause of Liberty,
Guard it 'gainst Earth and Hell;
Guard it till Death or Victory --
Look you, you guard it well!
No saint or king has tomb so proud,
As he whose flag becomes his shroud.

III.

A nation's right, a nation's right --
God gave it, and gave, too,
A nation's sword, a nation's might,
Danger to guard it through.
'Tis freedom from a foreign yoke,
'Tis just and equal laws,
Which deal unto the humblest folk,
As in a noble's cause.
On nations fixed in right and truth,
God would bestow eternal youth.

IV.

May Ireland's voice be ever heard
Amid the world's applause!
And never be her flag-staff stirred,
But in an honest cause!
May Freedom be her very breath,
Be Justice ever dear;
And never an ennobled death
May son of Ireland fear!
So the Lord God will ever smile,
With guardian grace, upon our isle.





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