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APOLOGY TO THE HARP, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Harp of the land I love! Forgive this hand


HARP of the land I love ! forgive this hand
That reverently lifts thee from the dust,
And scans thy strings with filial awe and love,
Lest by neglect the chords of song should rust.


Deep buried in tall grave-yard grass thou wert
The shadows of the dead thy sole defence
The wild flowers twining round thee meekly fond,
Fearing their very love might be offence. In.


Seeing thee thus, I knew the bards were gone
Who thrilled thee and themselves thrilled to thy touch
Mangan and Moore, I knew, were vanished;
I knelt and raised thee: did I dare too much?


If Griffin, or if Davis lived, a night
Had never fallen upon thee, lying there;
Or if our living poets, loyal held
To native themes so much, I dare not dare.


But could I see thee, glorious instrument!
The first time in long ages silence-bound?
Thou ! who wert nursed on ancient Ossian's knee
Thence sacredly through ages handed down.


I! who have heard thy echoes from my soul,
A sickly boy, couched at my mother's knee:
I! who have heard thy dirges, wild as winds,
And thy deep tidal turns of prophecy!


I! whom you tuned in sorrow day by day,
For friend, adviser, solace, companie,
Could I pass by thee, prostrate, nor essay
To bear thee on a stage harp of my loved Erie?


Forgive me ! oh, forgive me, if too bold!
I twine thy chords about my very heart,
And make with every pulse of life a vow,
Swearing nor years, nor death, shall us two part.


I have no hope to gather bays, on high
Beneath the snows of ages, where they bloom,
As many votaries of thine desired,
And the great favor'd few have haply done;


But if emblem o'er my dust should rise,
Let ' it be this: Our Harp within a wreath
Of shamrocks twining round it lovingly,
That so, O Harp I our love shall know no death!






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