June 17, 2008

Erin Go Bragh

Let me crow for just a moment about the fact that my distant relatives (mom’s family came over during the Potato Famine) in their recent vote have helped throw a massive roadblock in the path of the Juggernaut which European elites are trying to drive over the corpses of more than a dozen Western nations. I’m proud that of all the constitutions of European nations, the Irish one included sufficient respect for the wisdom of the common man to demand that any such treaty be subject to a referendum. The heritage of those solid, populist Catholic nationalists who created the Irish Republic—however frayed it has been by secularism—lives on today, and guarantees that their nation will not be liquidated by the EU. The people who survived the penal laws, the great hunger, the Black and Tans, the collaborators among their clergy, and won free of the British Empire BEFORE it began to collapse under its own weight—indeed, at the height of its power, after its victory in World War I—still have some spunk left in them. In their honor, I hope some of you readers will hoist a glass this week and intone that great song of Irish resistance, “The Foggy Dew”:

As down the glen one Easter morn to a city fair rode I
There Armed lines of marching men in squadrons passed me by
No pipe did hum nor battle drum did sound its loud tattoo
But the Angelus Bell o’er the Liffey’s swell rang out through the foggy dew

Right proudly high over Dublin Town they hung out the flag of war
‘Twas better to die ‘neath an Irish sky than at Suvla or Sud-El-Bar
And from the plains of Royal Meath strong men came hurrying through
While Britannia’s Huns, with their long range guns sailed in through the foggy dew

‘Twas England bade our wild geese go, that “small nations might be free”;
Their lonely graves are by Suvla’s waves or the fringe of the great North Sea.
Oh, had they died by Pearse’s side or fought with Cathal Brugha*
Their graves we’d keep where the Fenians sleep, ‘neath the shroud of the foggy dew.

Oh the night fell black, and the rifles’ crack made perfidious Albion reel
In the leaden rain, seven tongues of flame did shine o’er the lines of steel
By each shining blade a prayer was said, that to Ireland her sons be true
But when morning broke, still the war flag shook out its folds in the foggy dew

Oh the bravest fell, and the Requiem bell rang mournfully and clear
For those who died that Eastertide in the spring time of the year
And the world did gaze, in deep amaze, at those fearless men, but few,
Who bore the fight that freedom’s light might shine through the foggy dew

As back through the glen I rode again and my heart with grief was sore
For I parted then with valiant men whom I never shall see more
But to and fro in my dreams I go and I kneel and pray for you,
For slavery fled, O glorious dead, when you fell in the foggy dew.

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