From the Shan Van Vocht, No. 1, 15th January, 1896.
‘God save all here and bless your work,’ says Rory, of the hill.’
A new year has come and with it the hope that before its course is run, nay, before the roses of its summer have faded and fallen, it may be given to our eyes to behold the first beams of the daybreak dispersing for ever the gloom of our long penitential night of sorrow. If in this time, so full of glorious possibilities, so darkened with the threats and rumours of impending change, this land does not rise and put herself in readiness for whatever chance may befall, she is dead indeed beyond the hope of resurrection. Such supineness would, beyond all denial, prove her to have forfeited and lost forever the immortal soul which alone could answer the Divine call summoning her to come forth from the sepulchre.
But let us have faith enough in the true hearts that beat for Ireland. This will indeed be a year of great awakening; that the land from shore to shore will be thrilled with expectancy; that all who have any power or influence for good, will exert it steadfastly and hopefully, as if all depended on their efforts. And who is there that has not power to accomplish something? Everyone who cherishes in his own heart the sacred and undying flame can kindle it in another; everyone who hopes in the words of our motto, ‘that Ireland shall be free,’ can show in his life and work the spirit of devotion and self-sacrifice, which alone can make the people of this land worthy of freedom.
They must be worthy and they must be ready before that bright gift comes to them, as Thomas Davis has sung, ‘From God’s right hand.’ Nothing will be accomplished by overweening confidence, by empty boasting, by the belief that any favouring circumstances and events occurring outside our own Nation will avail to bring us nearer the goal. The wind and tide help the ship; they cannot bring her into port, nor even advance her on her journey; that can be done alone by those on board. Ireland will never drift into her desired haven; a few strong hands, under the guidance of a few brave, resolute hearts, can steer her thither before the winds that are now astir, though they should grow and blow with a hurricane’s strength. So, like the ship on our title-page, let us hope to see that which bears our country’s fortunes brought round before those favouring winds, and steered straight for the Geal-na-greine.
‘And Ireland shall be free,’
Says the Shan Van Vocht.’