Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
The Celtic Cross
 
Thomas D’Arcy McGee (1825–68)
 
 
THROUGH storm and fire and gloom, I see it stand,
  Firm, broad, and tall,
The Celtic Cross that marks our Father-land,
  Amid them all!
Druids and Danes and Saxons vainly rage        5
  Around its base;
It standeth shock on shock, and age on age,
  Star of our scatter’d race.
 
O Holy Cross! dear symbol of the dread
  Death of our Lord,        10
Around thee long have slept our martyr dead
  Sward over sward.
An hundred bishops I myself can count
  Among the slain:
Chiefs, captains, rank and file, a shining mount        15
  Of God’s ripe grain.
 
The monarch’s mace, the Puritan’s claymore,
  Smote thee not down;
On headland steep, on mountain summit hoar,
  In mart and town,        20
In Glendalough, in Ara, in Tyrone,
  We find thee still,
Thy open arms still stretching to thine own,
  O’er town and lough and hill.
 
And would they tear thee out of Irish soil,        25
  The guilty fools!
How time must mock their antiquated toil
  And broken tools!
Cranmer and Cromwell from thy grasp retir’d,
  Baffled and thrown;        30
William and Anne to sap thy site conspir’d,—
  The rest is known.
 
Holy Saint Patrick, father of our faith,
  Belov’d of God!
Shield thy dear Church from the impending scaith,        35
  Or, if the rod
Must scourge it yet again, inspire and raise
  To emprise high
Men like the heroic race of other days,
  Who joyed to die.        40
 
Fear! wherefore should the Celtic people fear
  Their Church’s fate?
The day is not—the day was never near—
  Could desolate
The Destin’d Island, all whose seedy clay        45
  Is holy ground:
Its cross shall stand till that predestin’d day
  When Erin’s self is drown’d.
 

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