Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
The Fair Hills of Eiré, O
By James Clarence Mangan (1803–1849)
 
TAKE a blessing from my heart to the land of my birth,
And the fair hills of Eiré, O!
And to all that yet survive of Eibhear’s tribe on earth,
On the fair hills of Eiré, O!
In that land so delightful the wild thrush’s lay,        5
Seems to pour a lament forth for Eiré’s decay.
Alas, alas! why pine I a thousand miles away
From the fair hills of Eiré, O!
 
The soil is rich and soft, the air is mild and bland,
Of the fair hills of Eiré, O!        10
Her barest rock is greener to me than this rude land;
O the fair hills of Eiré, O!
Her woods are tall and straight, grove rising over grove;
Trees flourish in her glens below and on her heights above;
Ah, in heart and in soul I shall ever, ever love        15
The fair hills of Eiré, O!
 
A noble tribe, moreover, are the now hapless Gael,
On the fair hills of Eiré, O!
A tribe in battle’s hour unused to shrink or fail
On the fair hills of Eiré, O!        20
For this is my lament in bitterness outpour’d
To see them slain or scatter’d by the Saxon sword:
O woe of woes to see a foreign spoiler horde
On the fair hills of Eiré, O!
 
Broad and tall rise the cruachs in the golden morning glow        25
On the fair hills of Eiré, O!
O’er her smooth grass for ever sweet cream and honey flow,
On the fair hills of Eiré, O!
Oh, I long, I am pining, again to behold
The land that belongs to the brave Gael of old.        30
Far dearer to my heart than a gift of gems or gold
Are the fair hills of Eiré, O!
 
The dewdrops lie bright mid the grass and yellow corn
On the fair hills of Eiré, O!
The sweet-scented apples blush redly in the morn        35
On the fair hills of Eiré, O!
The water-cress and sorrel fill the vales below,
The streamlets are hush’d till the evening breezes blow,
While the waves of the Suir, noble river! ever flow
Neath the fair hills of Eiré, O!        40
 
A fruitful clime is Eiré’s, through valley, meadow, plain,
And the fair hills of Eiré, O!
The very bread of life is in the yellow grain
On the fair hills of Eiré, O!
Far dearer unto me than the tones music yields        45
Is the lowing of the kine and the calves in her fields,
In the sunlight that shone long ago on the shields
Of the Gaels, on the fair hills of Eiré, O!
 
 
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