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Have Ye Counted The Cost

Lady Jane Wilde 1821 (Wexford ) – 1896 (Dublin)



Will our Leaders faint and falter
At the foes they have to bind
The Ignorance and Prejudice,
Bigot heart and shallow mind?
Do they tremble at the ordeal
That is looming from afar
The battle, and the hero‐death,
And vict'ry's fiery car?

Ah! the brave ones! Lion‐hearted!
They whose prophet‐accents rung,
As if pentecostal fires
Had been kindled on their tongue;
Some with words of soft persuasion,
Melting hearts of stern and strong,
Like the minor chord that waketh
All our tears in Irish song.

Some with glance, like eagles, fearless,
And great thoughts that kindle deeds,
Bowing souls of men before them
As the storm‐wind sweeps the reeds.
Will they sink down, pale and weary?
Vain is preaching to the wind,
Burning words and supplications
Slavish souls are deaf and blind.

Never! Like the protomartyr,
Ages since on Judah's plains,
While around him, furious raging,
Stood the fierce, unbranded Cains;
So, sublime in holy daring,
Stand our Leaders calmly there,
Though such grief their spirit's clouding
As might quickly fade young hair.

Grief for the idiot people,
Who, with suicidal hand,
Strive to the bind the fetters closer
On their prostrate, bleeding land.
But a silver cord of gladness
Is inwoven in the gloom
Through the midnight of our sadness,
Brightest stars from heaven loom.

Morning comes when night is darkest,
Near to evil good will spring,
As the Indian serpent resteth
On the leaf that heals its sting.
Braver spirits will enkindle,
To redeem our abject race;
Noble hearts will beat yet nobler,
To retrieve our past disgrace.

Brighter still, and brighter shining,
Seems the glory of the few,
Who, in face of earth and heaven,
Swear to God they dare be true.
Let the masses pass on scorning,
Seek not courage in their mind;
Self‐devotion, patriot fervour,
Spring not from the craven kind.

Abject tears, and prayers submissive
Have they eyes, and cannot see?
Never country gained her freedom
When she sued on bended knee.
Be our Leaders, then, still daring,
Bold in word, and brave in fight;
And when comes the day of trial,
Then, may God defend the Right!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:48 min read
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Lady Jane Wilde

Jane Francesca Agnes, Lady Wilde (née Elgee; 27 December 1821 – 3 February 1896) was an Irish poet under the pen name "Speranza" and supporter of the nationalist movement. Lady Wilde had a special interest in Irish folktales, which she helped to gather and was the mother of Oscar Wilde and Willie Wilde. more…

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