The Battle of Carlow A.D. 1798
Author: W. O'N. possibly Slieve Margy?
From The Nationalist, 18/09/1897.

Dublin Core

Title

The Battle of Carlow A.D. 1798
Author: W. O'N. possibly Slieve Margy?
From The Nationalist, 18/09/1897.

Subject

The poem records the courage, motivation and fate of the hundreds who died on that terrible morning in May, 1798 when ambushed and slaughtered by English soldiers on Tullow Street in Carlow town

Description

A morning fair, o’erarched with skies of May,
Broke over files of men in stern array-
By wrongs made reckless – to avenge the flood –
The seething torrent of their tears and blood
By England’s hell-hounds shed. The sunbeams fell
On bounding hearts that fear could never quell,
On pikes and muskets gleaming bare and bright,
That would ere long be gore-dyed in the fight.

They silver-tipped the roofs of Carlow town,
They fell on Crosbie’s lawn and mansion down,
And far away o’er Wicklow’s hills serene
They burnished all around with radiant sheen;
And never sun shone on a braver band,
And never yet had seen the old green land
Hearts true as these for her to win renown,
And free, as free as air, each hill and town.

They gathered there from passes of Idrone,
With step of grace and lightness all their own;
From Myshal’s slopes, from Ballon and Ardoyne,
They came, with Carlow’s gallant men to join;
From Kellistown, and from the Burrin’s side,
And Tullow’s sons aglow with manly pride,
All, all combine to strike for homes and kin,
And Freedom’s glorious laurels for Ireland win.

Cheer after cheer ascends from them on high,
Those gallant hearts resolved to do or die;
With stately tread they march upon the town
And cut the foremost lines of Yeomen down.
When from each side a murderous fusillade
Poured death and havoc ‘mong their ranks dismayed.
The redcoats ambushed in each house secure
Death’s leaden messengers sent swift and sure.

Yet on they marched, their shot and shell defying,
Tho’ hundreds now upon the streets are lying
In ghastly heaps- their bravest and their best –
Their hearts and minds forever now at rest;
Hearts that with life and hope were brimming o’er
At morning’s dawn, are now, alas! no more,
Till twice three hundred men are lying dead
And Carlow’s streets are dyed a gory red.

Were Crimea’s heroes, a braver, nobler band
Than those six hundred dying for their land,
Or did they suffer a more glorious death
Before the Russian canon’s fiery breath,
Than they who fell in Freedom’s sacred cause,
Insurgents made by England’s penal laws?
Ah, no! the grandest and the noblest death
Is ‘neath the flag of Freedom and of Faith.

Files

Citation

“The Battle of Carlow A.D. 1798 Author: W. O'N. possibly Slieve Margy? From The Nationalist, 18/09/1897.,” From Carlow Streams, accessed April 16, 2024, https://fromcarlowstreams.ie/items/show/300.