CELT document E850004-008

The Geraldines

Thomas Osborne Davis

Edited by T. W. Rolleston

Whole text


    The Geraldines

  1. The Geraldines! The Geraldines!—'tis full a thousand years
    Since, 'mid the Tuscan vineyards, bright flashed their battle-spears;
    When Capet seized the crown of France, their iron shields were known,
    And their sabre-dint struck terror on the banks of the Garonne:
    Across the downs of Hastings they spurred hard by William's side,
    And the grey sands of Palestine with Moslem blood they dyed;
    But never then, nor thence till now, has falsehood or disgrace
    Been seen to soil Fitzgerald's plume, or mantle in his face.
  2.  p.307
  3. The Geraldines! The Geraldines!—'tis true, in Strongbow's van,
    By lawless force, as conquerors, their Irish reign began;
    And, oh! through many a dark campaign they proved their prowess stern,
    In Leinster's plains, and Munster's vales, on king, and chief, and kerne;
    But noble was the cheer within the halls so rudely won,
    And generous was the steel-gloved hand that had such slaughter done;
    How gay their laugh, how proud their mien, you'd ask no herald's sign—
    Among a thousand you had known the princely Geraldine.
  4. These Geraldines! These Geraldines!—not long our air they breathed;
    Not long they fed on venison, in Irish water seethed;
    Not often had their children been by Irish mothers nursed;
    When from their full and genial hearts an Irish feeling burst!
    The English monarchs strove in vain, by law, and force, and bribe,
    To win from Irish thoughts and ways this “more than Irish” tribe;
    For still they clung to fosterage, to breitheamh1, cloak, and bard:
    What king dare say to Geraldine, “Your Irish wife discard”?
  5.  p.308
  6. Ye Geraldines! ye Geraldines!—How royally ye reigned
    O'er Desmond broad and rich Kildare, and English arts disdained:
    Your sword made knights, your banner waved, free was your bugle call
    By Gleann's green slopes, and Daingean's tide, from Bearbha's banks to Eochaill.
    What gorgeous shrines, what breitheamh lore, what minstrel feasts there were
    In and around Magh Nuadhaid's keep, and palace-filled Adare!
    But not for rite or feast ye stayed, when friend or kin were pressed;
    And foeman fled when “Crom-abu” 2 bespoke your lance in rest.
  7. Ye Geraldines! ye Geraldines!—since Silken Thomas flung
    King Henry's sword on council board, the English thanes among,
    Ye never ceased to battle brave against the English sway,
    Though axe and brand and treachery your proudest cut away.
    Of Desmond's blood through woman's veins passed on th' exhausted tide;
    His title lives—a Sacsanach churl usurps the lion's hide;
    And though Kildare tower haughtily, there's ruin at the root,
    Else why, since Edward fell to earth, had such a tree no fruit?
  8.  p.309
  9. True Geraldines! Brave Geraldines!—as torrents mould the earth,
    You channeled deep old Ireland's heart by constancy and worth:
    When Ginckle 'leaguered Limerick, the Irish soldiers gazed
    To see if the setting sun dead Desmond's banner blazed!
    And still it is the peasant's hope upon the Cuirreach's mere,
    “They live, who'll see ten thousand men with good Lord Edward here.”—
    So let them dream till brighter days, when, not by Edward's shade,
    But by some leader true as he, their lines shall be arrayed!
  10. These Geraldines! These Geraldines!—rain wears away the rock
    And time may wear away the tribe that stood the battle's shock;
    But ever, sure, while one is left of all that honoured race,
    In front of Ireland's chivalry is that Fitzgerald's place:
    And though the last were dead and gone, how many a field and town,
    From Thomas Court to Abbeyfeile, would cherish their renown!
    And men will say of valour's rise, or ancient power's decline,
    “'T will never soar, it never shone, as did the Geraldine.”
  11.  p.310
  12. The Geraldines! the Geraldines!—and are there any fears
    Within the sons of conquerors for full a thousand years?
    Can treason spring from out a soil bedewed with martyr's blood?
    Or has that grown a purling brook which long rushed down a flood?—
    By Desmond swept with sword and fire—by clan and keep laid low—
    By Silken Thomas and his kin,—by sainted Edward! No!
    The forms of centuries rise up, and in the Irish line
    Command their son to take the post that fits the Geraldine!

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Title statement

Title (uniform): The Geraldines

Author: Thomas Osborne Davis

Editor: T. W. Rolleston

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Electronic edition compiled and proof corrections by: Beatrix Färber

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 1275 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: E850004-008

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

Source description


  • First published in the Nation.

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 Geraldines’. In: Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry‍. Ed. by T. W. Rolleston. Dublin and London: The Talbot Press, pp. 306–310.

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

  author 	 = {Thomas Osborne Davis},
  title 	 = {The Geraldines},
  editor 	 = {T. W. Rolleston},
  booktitle 	 = {Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry},
  publisher 	 = {The Talbot Press},
  address 	 = {Dublin and London},
  date 	 = {1910},
  pages 	 = {306–310}


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Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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Profile description

Creation: by Thomas Davis

Date: 1840s

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  • The text is in English. (en)
  • Some words and terms are in Irish. (ga)

Keywords: literary; poetry; 19c

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(Most recent first)

  1. 2011-08-08: File parsed. SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2011-08-07: File proofed (2), structural and content markup applied; header created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2009-11: File proofed (1). (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 1996: Text captured by scanning. (ed. Audrey Murphy)

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  1. Angl. Brehon. 🢀

  2. Formerly the war-cry of the Geraldines, and now their motto. 🢀


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