CELT document E850004-020


Thomas Osborne Davis

Edited by T. W. Rolleston

Whole text



  1. THOUGH savage force and subtle schemes,
    And alien rule, through ages lasting,
    Have swept your land like lava streams,
    Its wealth and name and nature blasting;
    Rot not, therefore, in dull despair,
    Nor moan at destiny in far lands!
    Face not your foe with bosom bare,
    Nor hide your chains in pleasure's garlands.
    The wise man arms to combat wrong,
    The brave man clears a den of lions,
    The true man spurns the Helot's song;
    The freeman's friend is Self-Reliance!
  2. Though France that gave your exiles bread,
    Your priests a home, your hopes a station,
    Or that young land where first was spread
    The starry flag of Liberation,—
    Should heed your wrongs some future day,
    And send you voice or sword to plead 'em,
    With helpful love their help repay,
    But trust not even to them for Freedom.
    A Nation freed by foreign aid
    Is but a corpse by wanton science
    Convulsed like life, then flung to fade—
    The life itself is Self-Reliance!
  3. Oh! see your quailing tyrant run
    To courteous lies, and Roman agents,
    His terror, lest Dungannon's sun
    Should rise again with riper radiance. p.337
    Oh! hark the Freeman's welcome cheer,
    And hark your brother sufferers sobbing;
    Oh! mark the universe grow clear,
    Oh! mark your spirit's royal throbbing—
    'Tis Freedom's God that sends such signs,
    As pledges of his blest alliance;
    He gives bright hopes to brave designs,
    And lends his bolts to Self-Reliance!
  4. Then, flung alone, or hand in hand,
    In mirthful hour, or spirit solemn;
    In lowly toil, or high command,
    In social hall, or charging column:
    In tempting wealth, and trying woe,
    In struggling with a mob's dictation;
    In bearing back a foreign foe,
    In training up a troubled nation:
    Still hold to Truth, abound in Love,
    Refusing every base compliance—
    Your Praise within, your Prize above,
    And live and die in SELF-RELIANCE!

Document details

The TEI Header

File description

Title statement

Title (uniform): Self-Reliance

Author: Thomas Osborne Davis

Editor: T. W. Rolleston

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled and proof corrections by: Beatrix Färber and Juliette Maffet

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 860 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: 2012

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

CELT document ID: E850004-020

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). ‘Self-Reliance’. In: Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry‍. Ed. by T. W. Rolleston. Dublin and London: The Talbot Press, pp. 336–337.

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

  author 	 = {Thomas Osborne Davis},
  title 	 = {Self-Reliance},
  editor 	 = {T. W. Rolleston},
  booktitle 	 = {Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry},
  publisher 	 = {The Talbot Press},
  address 	 = {Dublin and London},
  date 	 = {1910},
  pages 	 = {336–337}


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: There is no direct speech.

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. 2012-01-31: File proofed (2), file parsed; SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2012-01-16: File proofed (1); header created; structural and content markup applied. (ed. Juliette Maffet)
  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


    2 Carrigside, College Road, Cork