CELT document E850004-027

The Green above the Red

Thomas Osborne Davis

Edited by T. W. Rolleston

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    The Green above the Red

    AIR—Irish Molly O!

  1. FULL often when our fathers saw the Red above the Green,
    They rose in rude but fierce array, with sabre, pike and scian,
    And over many a noble town, and many a field of dead,
    They proudly set the Irish Green above the English Red.
  2. But in the end throughout the land, the shameful sight was seen—
    The English Red in triumph high above the Irish Green;
    But well they died in breach and field, who, as their spirits fled,
    Still saw the Green maintain its place above the English Red.
  3. And they who saw, in after times, the Red above the Green
    Were withered as the grass that dies beneath a forest screen;
    Yet often by this healthy hope their sinking hearts were fed,
    That, in some day to come, the Green should flutter o'er the Red.
  4. Sure 'twas for this Lord Edward died, and Wolfe Tone sunk serene—
    Because they could not bear to leave the Red above the Green;
    And 'twas for this that Owen fought, and Sarsfield nobly bled—
    Because their eyes were hot to see the Green above the Red.
  5.  p.346
  6. So when the strife began again, our darling Irish Green
    Was down upon the earth, while high the English Red was seen;
    Yet still we held our fearless course, for something in us said,
    “Before the strife is o'er you'll see the Green above the Red.”
  7. And 'tis for this we think and toil, and knowledge strive to glean,
    That we may pull the English Red below the Irish Green,
    And leave our sons sweet Liberty, and smiling plenty spread
    Above the land once dark with blood—the Green above the Red!
  8. The jealous English tyrant now has banned the Irish Green,
    And forced us to conceal it like a something foul and mean;
    But yet, by Heavens! he'll sooner raise his victims from the dead
    Than force our hearts to leave the Green, and cotton to the Red.
  9. We'll trust ourselves, for God is good, and blesses those who lean
    On their brave hearts, and not upon an earthly king or queen;
    And, freely as we lift out hands, we vow our blood to shed
    Once and for evermore to raise the Green above the Red.

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Title statement

Title (uniform): The Green above the Red

Author: Thomas Osborne Davis

Editor: T. W. Rolleston

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

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 970 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: E850004-027

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

Source description


  • First published in the Nation on 12 October 1844.

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 Green above the Red’. In: Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry‍. Ed. by T. W. Rolleston. Dublin and London: The Talbot Press, pp. 345–346.

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

  author 	 = {Thomas Osborne Davis},
  title 	 = {The Green above the Red},
  editor 	 = {T. W. Rolleston},
  booktitle 	 = {Thomas Davis: Selections from his prose and poetry},
  publisher 	 = {The Talbot Press},
  address 	 = {Dublin and London},
  date 	 = {1910},
  pages 	 = {345–346}


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Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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Segmentation: div0=the poem. Page-breaks are marked pb n="". Italics of the printed edition are encoded emph rend="ital".

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Profile description

Creation: by Thomas Davis

Date: 1844

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  • The text is in English. (en)
  • One word is in Irish. (ga)

Keywords: literary; poetry; 19c

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(Most recent first)

  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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