CELT document E850004-024

The Burial

Thomas Osborne Davis

Edited by T. W. Rolleston

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    The Burial 1

  1. WHY rings the knell of the funeral bell from a hundred village shrines?
    Through broad Fingall, where hasten all those long and ordered lines?
    With tear and sigh they're passing by—the matron and the maid—
    Has a hero died—is a nation's pride in that cold coffin laid? p.338
    With frown and curse, behind the hearse, dark men go tramping on—
    Has a tyrant died, that they cannot hide their wrath till the rites are done?
  2. Ululu! ululu! high on the wind,
    There's a home for the slave where no fetters can bind.
    Woe, woe to his slayers!—comes wildly along,
    With the trampling of feet and the funeral song.
  3. And now more clear
    It swells on the ear;
    Breathe low, and listen, 'tis solemn to hear.
  4. 'Ululu! ululu! wail for the dead.
    Green grow the grass of Fingall on his head;
    And spring-flowers blossom, 'ere elsewhere appearing,
    And shamrocks grow thick on the Martyr for Erin.
    Ululu! ululu! soft fall the dew
    On the feet and the head of the martyred and true.'
  5. For awhile they tread
    In silence dread—
    Then muttering and moaning go the crowd,
    Surging and swaying like mountain cloud,
    And again the wail comes fearfully loud.
  6. 'Ululu! ululu! kind was his heart!
    Walk slower, walk slower, too soon we shall part.
    The faithful and pious, the Priest of the Lord,
    His pilgrimage over, he has his reward.
    By the bed of the sick lowly kneeling,
    To God with the raised cross appealing—
    He seems still to kneel, and he seems still to pray,
    And the sins of the dying seem passing away.
  7.  p.339
  8. 'In the prisoner's cell, and the cabin so dreary,
    Our constant consoler, he never grew weary;
    But he's gone to his rest,
    And he's now with the bless'd,
    Where tyrant and traitor no longer molest—
    Ululu! ululu! wail for the dead!
    Ululu! ululu! here is his bed!'
  9. Short was the ritual, simple the prayer,
    Deep was the silence, and every head bare;
    The Priest alone standing, they knelt all around,
    Myriads on myriads, like rocks on the ground.
    Kneeling and motionless—'Dust unto dust.
    He died as becometh the faithful and just—
    Placing in God his reliance and trust.'
  10. Kneeling and motionless—“ashes to ashes”—
    Hollow the clay on the coffin–lid dashes;
    Kneeling and motionless, wildly they pray,
    But they pray in their souls, for no gesture have they;
    Stern and standing—oh! look on them now.
    Like trees to one tempest the multitude bow;
    Like the swell of the ocean is rising their vow:
  11. We have bent and borne, though we saw him torn from his home by the tyrant's crew—
    And we bent and bore, when he came once more, though suffering had pierced him through:
    And now he is laid beyond our aid, because to Ireland true—
    A martyred man—the tyrant's ban, the pious patriot slew.
    'And shall we bear and bend for ever,
    And shall no time our bondage sever
    And shall we kneel, but battle never,
    For our own soil?'
  12.  p.340
  13. 'And shall our tyrants safely reign
    On thrones built up of slaves and slain,
    And nought to us and ours remain
    But chains and toil?'
    'No! round this grave our oath we plight,
    To watch, and labour, and unite,
    Till banded be the nation's might—
    Its spirit steeled,'
    'And then, collecting all our force,
    We'll cross oppression in its course,
    And die—or all our rights enforce,
    On battle field.'
  14. Like an ebbing sea that will come again,
    Slowly retired that host of men;
    Methinks they'll keep some other day
    The oath they swore on the martyr's clay.

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Title (uniform): The Burial

Author: Thomas Osborne Davis

Editor: T. W. Rolleston

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

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1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 1215 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: 2012

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

CELT document ID: E850004-024

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 Burial’. In: Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry‍. Ed. by T. W. Rolleston. Dublin and London: The Talbot Press, pp. 337–340.

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

  author 	 = {Thomas Osborne Davis},
  title 	 = {The Burial},
  editor 	 = {T. W. Rolleston},
  booktitle 	 = {Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry},
  publisher 	 = {The Talbot Press},
  address 	 = {Dublin and London},
  date 	 = {1910},
  pages 	 = {337–340}


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Creation: by Thomas Davis

Date: 1840s

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  • The text is in English. (en)

Keywords: literary; poetry; 19c

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  1. 2012-02-28: File proofed (2), file parsed; SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2012-02-27: File proofed (1); header created; structural and content markup applied. (ed. Juliette Maffet)
  3. 1996: Text captured by scanning. (ed. Audrey Murphy)

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  1. Written on the funeral of the Rev. P. J. Tyrrell, P.P., of Lusk; one of those indicted with O'Connell in the Government prosecution of 1843. 🢀


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