CELT document E860001-007

O'Byrne's Bard to the Clans of Wicklow

Samuel Ferguson

Whole text


    O'Byrne's Bard to the Clans of Wicklow

    Cir. 1580

  1. God be with the Irish host,
    Never be their battle lost!
    For, in battle, never yet
    Have they basely earned defeat.
  2. Host of armour red and bright,
    May ye fight a valiant fight!
    For the green spot of the earth,
    For the land that gave you birth.
  3. Who in Erin's cause would stand,
    Brothers of the avenging band,
    He must wed immortal quarrel,
    Pain and sweat and bloody peril.
  4. On the mountain bare and steep,
    Snatching short but pleasant sleep,
    Then, ere sunrise, from his eyrie,
    Swooping on the Saxon quarry.
  5.  p.42
  6. What although you've fail'd to keep
    Liffey's plain or Tara's steep,
    Cashel's pleasant streams to save,
    Or the meads of Croghan Maev;
  7. Want of conduct lost the town,
    Broke the white-wall'd castle down,
    Moira lost, and old Taltin,
    And let the conquering stranger in.
  8. 'Twas the want of right command,
    Not the lack of heart or hand,
    Left your hills and plains to-day
    'Neath the strong Clan Saxon's sway.
  9. Ah, had heaven never sent
    Discord for our punishment,
    Triumphs few o'er Erin's host
    Had Clan London now to boast!
  10. Woe is me, 'tis God's decree
    Strangers have the victory:
    Irishmen may now be found
    Outlaws upon Irish ground.
  11. Like a wild beast in his den
    Lies the chief by hill and glen,
    While the strangers, proud and savage,
    Criffan's richest valleys ravage.
  12. Woe is me, the foul offence,
    Treachery and violence,
    Done against my people's rights —
    Well may mine be restless nights!
  13.  p.43
  14. When old Leinster's sons of fame,
    Heads of many a warlike name,
    Redden their victorious hilts
    On the Gaul, my soul exults.
  15. When the grim Gaul, who have come
    Hither o'er the ocean foam.
    From the fight victorious go,
    Then my heart sinks deadly low.
  16. Bless the blades our warriors draw,
    God be with Clan Ranelagh!
    But my soul is weak for fear,
    Thinking of their danger here.
  17. Have them in Thy holy keeping,
    God be with them lying sleeping,
    God be with them standing fighting,
    Erin's foes in battle smiting!

Document details

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Title statement

Title (uniform): O'Byrne's Bard to the Clans of Wicklow

Author: Samuel Ferguson

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by: Beatrix Färber

Funded by: School of History, University College, Cork

Edition statement

1. First draft.

Extent: 1140 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: 2016

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

CELT document ID: E860001-007

Availability: The works by Sir Samuel Ferguson are in the public domain. This electronic text is available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of private or academic research and teaching.

Notes statement

Source description

Life and Work of Sir Samuel Ferguson

  1. Mary Catherine Guinness Ferguson, Sir Samuel Ferguson in the Ireland of his Day (Edinburgh/London 1896).
  2. Arthur Deering, Sir Samuel Ferguson, Poet and Antiquarian (Philadelphia 1931).
  3. Malcolm Brown, Sir Samuel Ferguson (Lewisburg) 1973.
  4. Robert O'Driscoll, An ascendancy of the heart: Ferguson and the beginnings of modern Irish literature in English (Dublin 1976).
  5. Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish and Fíor-Ghael: Studies in the idea of Irish nationality, its development and literay expression prior to the nineteenth century (Amsterdam/Philadelphia 1986).
  6. Terence Brown and Barbara Hayley (eds), Samuel Ferguson: a centenary tribute (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy 1987).
  7. Maurice Harmon, The Enigma of Samuel Ferguson, in: O. Komesu, M. Sekine (eds), Irish writers and politics (Irish Literary Studies 36) (Gerrards Cross 1989) 62–79.
  8. Peter Denman, Samuel Ferguson: the literary achievement (Gerrards Cross, Bucks. 1990).
  9. Eve Patten, 'Samuel Ferguson: a tourist in Antrim', in: Gerald Dawe and John Wilson Foster, (eds), The poet's place: Ulster literature and society: essays in honour of John Hewitt, 1907–87 (Belfast: Queen's University of Belfast, Institute of Irish Studies, 1991).
  10. Gréagóir Ó Dúill, Samuel Ferguson: Beatha agus Saothar (Baile Átha Cliath [=Dublin] 1993).
  11. Gréagóir Ó Dúill, Sir Samuel Ferguson (1810–1886), in: Eamon Phoenix (ed), A century of northern life: The Irish News and 100 years of Ulster history, 1890s–1990s (Belfast 1995) 182–186.
  12. Sean Ryder, 'The politics of landscape and region in nineteenth-century poetry', in: Leon Litvack, Glenn Hooper (eds), Ireland in the nineteenth century: regional identity (Dublin 2000).
  13. Eve Patten, Samuel Ferguson and the culture of nineteenth-century Ireland (Dublin 2004).
  14. Peter Denman, William Carleton and Samuel Ferguson: lives and contacts, in: Gordon Brand (ed), William Carleton, the authentic voice (Gerard's Cross 2006) 360–377.
  15. Eve Patten, Samuel Ferguson's Hibernian Nights' Entertainments, in: James H. Murphy (ed), The Irish book in English, 1800–1891. The Oxford History of the Irish Book, 4 (Oxford: 2011).
  16. Matthew Campbell, 'Samuel Ferguson's Maudlin Jumble', in: Kirstie Blair, Mina Gorji (eds), Class and the canon: constructing labouring-class poetry and poetics, 1780–1900 (Basingstoke 2013).


  • Poems of Sir Samuel Ferguson are available on www.archive.org.

The edition used in the digital edition

Ferguson, Samuel (1918). ‘O’Byrne’s Bard to the Clans of Wicklow’. In: Poems of Sir Samuel Ferguson‍. Ed. by Alfred Perceval Graves. Dublin: Talbot Press, pp. 41–43.

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

  author 	 = {Samuel Ferguson},
  title 	 = {O'Byrne's Bard to the Clans of Wicklow},
  editor 	 = {Alfred Perceval Graves},
  booktitle 	 = {Poems of Sir Samuel Ferguson},
  publisher 	 = {Talbot Press},
  address 	 = {Dublin},
  date 	 = {1918},
  pages 	 = {41–43}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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The whole poem.

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Correction: The text has been proof-read twice.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text.

Hyphenation: The editorial practice of the hard-copy editor has been retained.

Segmentation: div0= the individual poem, the stanzas are marked lg. The divison into stanzas was made at CELT.

Interpretation: Names of persons (given names), and places are not tagged. Terms for cultural and social roles are not tagged.

Profile description

Creation: 1858–1864

Language usage

  • The poem is in English. (en)

Keywords: O'Byrne; Wicklow; poetry; Celtic revival; 19c

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(Most recent first)

  1. 2016-06-14: Text captured. (data capture Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2014-06-15: SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2014-06-14: File proofed (1, 2); structural markup applied according to CELT practice; bibliographic details added; file parsed and validated. (ed. Beatrix Färber)

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