From The United Irishman, March 4, 1899.
(After the break-up of the various camps in Wexford, some few hundreds of resolute men, determining to make their way towards Kildare, where Aylmer still held out, left their native county and forced their way through Kilkenny into Queen’s Co. They took part in most of the later engagements in Westmeath, Meath, and Kildare, but did not capitulate with Aylmer; and, reduced to small numbers, were eventually annihilated near the village of Ballyboghill, Fingal, Co. Dublin.)
There’s a glint of steel upon the distance leaping
Through a dusty shroud;
Broken pikeshafts, shattered muskets I see peeping
From among a crowd.
Pale their brows; from out their eyes no fierceness flashes;
Still the word is, “On!”
Though the hopes that blazed so bright have burnt to ashes
And their strength is gone.
Lo! They come, the dream dispell’d; the broken column
Of a People’s cause;
Mark the measure of their marching!
Slow and solemn,
But no halt, no pause.
Ah! Their pulses quicker beat at Tubberneering
Or down Oulart Hill
But their hearts are yet unconquered and unfearing,
True and ready still.
Hark! A roll of drums – and musket-shots are pealing
High, then all is still.
Night has come; but see the moon’s pale beam revealing
Lone forms stretched stiff and chill.
Soulless, friendless, there they lie – no caoine above them
Save the curlew’s call;
None, none of all the aching hearts that love them
On thy plains, Fingal!
But the night shall brighten to a noontide blazing
Over hill and glen,
And the days to come, on freedom, fulness gazing,
Shall recall the men
Who, tho, weary-souled with war and dreams proved hollow,
Met the foe with scorn,
Keeping the old flag flying that their sons might follow,
On the road to Morn.