CELT document E850004-015

O'Connell's Statue

Thomas Osborne Davis

Edited by T. W. Rolleston

Whole text


    O'Connell's statue

    Lines to Hogan

  1. Chisel the likeness of The Chief,
    Not in gaiety, nor grief;
    Change not by your art to stone,
    Ireland's laugh, or Ireland's moan.
    Dark her tale, and none can tell
    Its fearful chronicle so well.
    Her frame is bent—her wounds are deep—
    Who, like him, her woes can weep?
  2. He can be gentle as a bride,
    While none can rule with kinglier pride;
    Calm to hear, and wise to prove,
    Yet gay as lark in soaring love.
    Well it were, posterity
    Should have some image of his glee;
    That easy humour, blossoming
    Like the thousand flowers of spring!
    Glorious the marble which could show
    His bursting sympathy for woe:
    Could catch the pathos, flowing wild,
    Like mother's milk to craving child.
  3. And oh! how princely were the art
    Could mould his mien, or tell his heart
    When sitting sole on Tara's hill,
    While hung a million on his will!
    Yet, not in gaiety, nor grief,
    Chisel the image of our Chief,
    Nor even in that haughty hour
    When a nation owned his power.
  4.  p.343
  5. But would you by your art unroll
    His own, and Ireland's secret soul,
    And give to other times to scan
    The greatest greatness of the man?
    Fierce defiance let him be
    Hurling at our enemy—
    From a base as fair and sure
    As our love is true and pure;
    Let his statue rise as tall
    And firm as a castle wall;
    On his broad brow let there be
    A type of Ireland's history;
    Pious, generous, deep and warm,
    Strong and changeful as a storm;
    Let whole centuries of wrong
    Upon his recollection throng—
    Strongbow's force, and Henry's wile,
    Tudor's wrath, and Stuart's guile,
    And iron Strafford's tiger jaws,
    And brutal Brunswick's penal laws;
    Not forgetting Saxon faith,
    Not forgetting Norman scath,
    Not forgetting William's word,
    Not forgetting Cromwell's sword.
    Let the Union's fetter vile—
    The shame and ruin of our isle—
    Let the blood of 'Ninety-Eight
    And our present blighting fate—
    Let the poor mechanic's lot,
    And the peasant's ruined cot,
    Plundered wealth and glory flown,
    Ancient honours overthrown—
    Let trampled altar, rifled urn,
    Knit his look to purpose stern.
  6.  p.344
  7. Mould all this into one thought,
    Like wizard cloud with thunder fraught;
    Still let our glories through it gleam,
    Like fair flowers through a flooded stream,
    Or like a flashing wave at night,
    Bright,—'mid the solemn darkness, bright.
    Let the memory of old days
    Shine through the statesman's anxious face—
    Dathi's power, and Brian's fame,
    And headlong Sarsfield's sword of flame;
    And the spirit of Red Hugh,
    And the pride of 'Eighty-Two,
    And the victories he won,
    And the hope that leads him on!
  8. Let whole armies seem to fly
    From his threatening hand and eye.
    Be the strength of all the land
    Like a falchion in his hand,
    And be his gesture sternly grand.
    A braggart tyrant swore to smite
    A people struggling for their right;
    O'Connell dared him to the field,
    Content to die but never yield;
    Fancy such a soul as his,
    In a moment such as this,
    Like cataract, or foaming tide,
    Or army charging in its pride.
    Thus he spoke, and thus he stood,
    Proffering in our cause his blood.
    Thus his country loves him best—
    To image this is your behest.
    Chisel thus, and thus alone,
    If to man you'd change the stone.

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Title (uniform): O'Connell's Statue

Author: Thomas Osborne Davis

Editor: T. W. Rolleston

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

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 1120 words

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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: E850004-015

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). ‘O’Connell’s statue’. In: Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry‍. Ed. by T. W. Rolleston. Dublin and London: The Talbot Press, pp. 342–344.

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

  author 	 = {Thomas Osborne Davis},
  title 	 = {O'Connell's statue},
  editor 	 = {T. W. Rolleston},
  booktitle 	 = {Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry},
  publisher 	 = {The Talbot Press},
  address 	 = {Dublin and London},
  date 	 = {1910},
  pages 	 = {342–344}


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Creation: by Thomas Davis

Date: 1840s

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  • The text is in English. (en)

Keywords: literary; poetry; 19c; O'Connell

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(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)

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