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.
 
Crossing the Blackwater
 
Robert Dwyer Joyce (1830–83)
 
 
A.D. 1603
 
 
WE stood so steady,
  All under fire,
We stood so steady,
Our long spears ready
  To vent our ire:        5
To dash on the Saxon,
Our mortal foe,
And lay him low
  In the bloody mire.
 
’T was by Blackwater,        10
  When snows were white,
’T was by Blackwater,
Our foes for the slaughter
  Stood full in sight;
But we were ready        15
With our long spears,
And we had no fears
  But we ’d win the fight.
 
Their bullets came whistling
  Upon our rank,        20
Their bullets came whistling,
Their spears were bristling
  On th’ other bank:
Yet we stood steady,
And each good blade,        25
Ere the morn did fade,
  At their life-blood drank.
 
“Hurrah! for Freedom!”
  Came from our van,
“Hurrah! for Freedom!        30
Our swords—we ’ll feed ’em
  As best we can—
With vengeance we ’ll feed ’em!”
Then down we crash’d,
Through the wild ford dash’d,        35
  And the fray began.
 
Horses to horses,
  And man to man:
O’er dying horses,
And blood and corses,        40
  O’Sullivan,
Our general, thunder’d,
And we were not slack
To slay at his back
  Till the fight began.        45
 
O, how we scatter’d
  The foemen then,—
Slaughter’d and scatter’d,
And chas’d and shatter’d,
  By shore and glen!        50
To the wall of Moyallo
Few fled that day:
Will they bar our way
  When we come again?
 
Our dead freres we buried,        55
  They were but few,
Our dead freres we buried
Where the dark waves hurried,
  And flash’d and flew:
O sweet be their slumber        60
Who thus have died
In the battle’s tide,
  Inisfail, for you!
 

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