A Story

(For the Irish Delegates in Australia)

DO you want to hear a story,
With a nobler praise than 'glory,'
Of a man who loved the right like heaven and loathed the wrong like
hell?
Then, that story let me tell you
Once again, though it as well you
Know as I — the splendid story of the man they call Parnell!
By the wayside of the nations,
Lashed with whips and execrations,
Helpless, hopeless, bleeding, dying, she, the Maiden Nation, lay;
And the burthen of dishonour
Weighed so grievously upon her
That her very children hid their eyes and crept in shame away.
And there as she was lying
Helpless, hopeless, bleeding, dying,
All her high-born foes came round her, fleering, jeering, as they said:
'What is freedom fought and won for?
She is down! She's dead and done for!'
And her weeping children shuddered as they crouched and whispered:
'Dead!'
Then suddenly up-starting,
All that throng before him parting,
See, a Man with firm step breaking through you central knot that gives;
And, as by some dear lost sister,
He knelt down, and softly kissed her,
And he raised his pale, proud face, and cried: 'She is not dead. She lives!
'O she lives, I say, and I here,
I am come to fight and die here
For the love my heart has for her like a slow consuming fire;
For the love of her low-lying,
For the hatred deep, undying
Of the robber lords who struck and stabbed and trod her in the mire!'
Then upon that cry bewildering,
Some of them, her hapless children —
In their hearts there leaped up hope like light when night gives birth to
day;
And, as mocks and threats defied him,
One by one they came beside him,
Till they stood, a band of heroes, sombre, desperate, at bay!
And the battle that they fought there,
And the bitter truth they taught there
To the blinded Sister-Nation suffering grievously alway,
All the wrong and rapine past hers,
Of her lords and her task-masters,
Is not this the larger hope of all as night gives birth to day?
For the lords and liars are quaking
At the People's stern awaking
From their slumber of the ages; and the Peoples slowly rise,
And with hands locked tight together,
One in heart and soul for ever,
Watch the sun of Light and Liberty leap up into the skies!
That's the story, that's the story
With a nobler praise than 'glory,'
Of the Man who loved the right like heaven and loathed the wrong like
hell,
And with calm, proud exultation
Bade her stand at last a nation,
Ireland, Ireland that is one name with the name of Charles Parnell!

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"A Story" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Apr. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/13988/a-story>.

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