CELT document E850004-001

The Sack of Baltimore

Thomas Osborne Davis

Edited by T. W. Rolleston

Whole text


    The Sack of Baltimore 1

  1. The summer sun is falling soft on Carbery's hundred isles—
    The summer sun is gleaming still through Gabriel's rough defiles— p.313
    Old Inisherkin's crumbled fane looks like a moulting bird;
    And in a calm and sleepy swell the ocean tide is heard;
    The hookers lie upon the beach; the children cease their play;
    The gossips leave the little inn; the households kneel to pray—
    And full of love and peace and rest—its daily labour o'er—
    Upon that cosy creek there lay the town of Baltimore.
  2. A deeper rest, a starry trance, has come with midnight there;
    No sound, except that throbbing wave in earth, or sea, or air.
    The massive capes and ruined towers seem conscious of the calm;
    The fibrous sod and stunted trees are breathing heavy balm.
    So still the night, these two long barques round Dunashad that glide,
    Must trust their oars—methinks not few—against the ebbing tide—
    Oh! some sweet mission of true love must urge them to the shore—
    They bring some lover to his bride, who sighs in Baltimore!
  3. All, all asleep within each roof along that rocky street,
    And these must be the lover's friends, with gently gliding feet—
    A stifled gasp! a dreamy noise! “the roof is in a flame!”
    From out their beds, and to their doors, rush maid, and sire, and dame— p.314
    And meet, upon the threshold stone, the gleaming sabre's fall,
    And o'er each black and bearded face the white or crimson shawl—
    The yell of “Allah” breaks above the prayer and shriek and roar—
    Oh, blessed God! the Algerine is lord of Baltimore!
  4. Then flung the youth his naked hand against the shearing sword;
    Then sprung the mother on the brand with which her son was gored;
    Then sunk the grandsire on the floor, his grand-babes clutching wild;
    Then fled the maiden moaning faint, and nestled with the child;
    But see, yon pirate strangled lies, and crushed with splashing heel,
    While o'er him in an Irish hand there sweeps his Syrian steel—
    Though virtue sink, and courage fail, and misers yield their store,
    There's one hearth well avenged in the sack of Baltimore!
  5. Mid-summer morn, in woodland nigh, the birds began to sing—
    They see not now the milking maids—deserted is the spring!
    Mid-summer day—this gallant rides from distant Bandon's town—
    These hookers crossed from stormy Skull, that skiff from Affadown; p.315
    They only found the smoking walls, with neighbours' blood besprent,
    And on the strewed and trampled beach awhile they wildly went—
    Then dashed to sea, and passed Cape Cléire, and saw five leagues before
    The pirate galleys vanishing that ravaged Baltimore.
  6. Oh! some must tug the galley's oar, and some must tend the steed—
    This boy will bear a Scheik's chibouk, and that a Bey's jerreed.
    Oh! some are for the arsenals, by beauteous Dardanelles;
    And some are in the caravan to Mecca's sandy dells.
    The maid that Bandon gallant sought is chosen for the Dey—
    She's safe—he's dead—she stabbed him in the midst of his Serai;
    And when to die a death of fire that noble maid they bore,
    She only smiled—O'Driscoll's child—she thought of Baltimore.
  7. 'Tis two long years since sunk the town beneath that bloody band,
    And all around its trampled hearths a larger concourse stand,
    Where high upon a gallows tree, a yelling wretch is seen—
    'Tis Hackett of Dungarvan—he who steered the Algerine!
    He fell amid a sullen shout, with scarce a passing prayer,
    For he had slain the kith and kin of many a hundred there—
    Some muttered of MacMurchadh, who brought the Norman o'er—
    Some cursed him with Iscariot, that day in Baltimore.

Document details

The TEI Header

File description

Title statement

Title (uniform): The Sack of Baltimore

Author: Thomas Osborne Davis

Editor: T. W. Rolleston

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled and proof corrections by: Beatrix Färber and Sara Sponholz

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 1325 words

Publication statement

Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2011

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E850004-001

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description


  • First published in the Nation 05 July 1845.

Other writings by Thomas Davis

  1. Thomas Davis, Essays Literary and Historical, ed. by D. J. O'Donoghue, Dundalk 1914.
  2. Sir Charles Gavan Duffy (ed.), Thomas Davis, the memoirs of an Irish patriot, 1840-1846. 1890. [Reprinted entitled 'Thomas Davis' with an introduction of Brendan Clifford. Millstreet, Aubane Historical Society, 2000.]
  3. Thomas Davis: selections from his prose and poetry. [Edited] with an introduction by T. W. Rolleston. London and Leipzig: T. Fisher Unwin (Every Irishman's Library). 1910. [Published in Dublin by the Talbot press, 1914.]
  4. Thomas Osborne Davis, Literary and historical essays 1846. Reprinted 1998, Washington, DC: Woodstock Books.
  5. Essays of Thomas Davis. New York, Lemma Pub. Corp. 1974, 1914 [Reprint of the 1914 ed. published by W. Tempest, Dundalk, Ireland, under the title 'Essays literary and historical'.]
  6. Thomas Davis: essays and poems, with a centenary memoir, 1845-1945. Dublin, M.H. Gill and Son, 1945. [Foreword by an Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera.]
  7. Angela Clifford, Godless colleges and mixed education in Ireland: extracts from speeches and writings of Thomas Wyse, Daniel O'Connell, Thomas Davis, Charles Gavan Duffy, Frank Hugh O'Donnell and others. Belfast: Athol, 1992.

Davis, Thomas Osborne (1910). ‘The Sack of Baltimore’. In: Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry‍. Ed. by T. W. Rolleston. Dublin and London: The Talbot Press, pp. 312–315.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  author 	 = {Thomas Osborne Davis},
  title 	 = {The Sack of Baltimore},
  editor 	 = {T. W. Rolleston},
  booktitle 	 = {Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry},
  publisher 	 = {The Talbot Press},
  address 	 = {Dublin and London},
  date 	 = {1910},
  pages 	 = {312–315}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Editorial declarations

Correction: Text has been proof-read twice and parsed.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text.

Quotation: Direct speech is tagged q.

Hyphenation: Soft hyphens are silently removed. When a hyphenated word (and subsequent punctuation mark) crosses a page-break, this break is marked after the completion of the word (and punctuation mark).

Segmentation: div0=the poem. Page-breaks are marked pb n="".

Standard values: Dates are standardized in the ISO form yyyy-mm-dd.

Interpretation: Names of persons, places or organisations are not tagged.

Profile description

Creation: by Thomas Davis

Date: 1840s

Language usage

  • The text is in English. (en)

Keywords: literary; poetry; 19c

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2011-08-09: File proofed (2), file parsed; header completed; SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2011-08-09: File proofed (1), structural and content markup applied; header created. (ed. Sara Sponholz)
  3. 1996: Text captured by scanning. (ed. Audrey Murphy)

Index to all documents

Standardisation of values

CELT Project Contacts



For details of the markup, see the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)

page of the print edition

folio of the manuscript

numbered division

 999 line number of the print edition (in grey: interpolated)

underlining: text supplied, added, or expanded editorially

italics: foreign words; corrections (hover to view); document titles

bold: lemmata (hover for readings)

wavy underlining: scribal additions in another hand; hand shifts flagged with (hover to view)

TEI markup for which a representation has not yet been decided is shown in red: comments and suggestions are welcome.

Source document


Search CELT

  1. Baltimore is a small seaport in the barony of Carbery, in South Munster. It grew up round a Castle of O'Driscoll's, and was, after his ruin, colonized by the English. On the 20th of June, 1631, the crew of two Algerine galleys landed in the dead of the night, sacked the town, and bore off into slavery all who were not too old, or too young, or too fierce for their purpose. The pirates were steered up the intricate channel by one Hackett, a Dungarvan fisherman, whom they had taken at sea for the purpose. Two years after he was convicted and executed for the crime. Baltimore never recovered this. To the artist, the antiquary, and the naturalist, its neighbourhood is most interesting. See The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Cork, by Charles Smith, M.D. 🢀


2 Carrigside, College Road, Cork