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A Patriot’s Grave – 1850

Freeman’s Journal 5th December, 1850

Photo: EO'D
Photo: EO’D

A PATRIOT’S GRAVE.(abridged)

Mr. William Davis departed this life on the 17th of August, 1843, aged 78 years. He was one of the last survivors of those who were exiled without the formality of a trial, for the Irish Political Movement of 1798. He was an upright and honest man — zealous in the cause of Religion, and a generous benefactor to its Institutions. He ended his days in sentiments of true piety. May he rest in peace, Amen. — Epitaph.

Within this damp, contracted, silent cell,
The relics of a patriot Exile lie;
His faults amid its depths of darkness dwell
His virtues live — they could not with him die.

And when the moon just risen flings her gleam,
As if a smile from Heaven on his tomb,
The burnish’d epitaph, heart-rending theme,
To me’s a history of my country’s doom!

He lov’d his native land — and this was sin
He rose to save that land — and this was crime
He fought — but happened not the prize to win
Hence must he lose the Patriot’s name sublime.

Though ’twas not thine to break the fatal chain
That rankles in old Erin’s wounds so long,
To unfurl her *”Sun-burst” banner once again,
And waken in her glens blest Freedom’s song,

Yet thou didst strive and strain and fling away
Thy youthful vigour in her sacred cause;
If e’er she springs a phœnix from decay,
Thou shalt obtain thy prize, her full applause.

For us poor wanderers from that Isle of Love
Must now suffice a prayer, a tear, a sigh,
Oh, happy! if such worthless offerings prove
Thy memory lives — can never never die?

FOYRAN. Geneva Bower, November 1850. * The “Sun-burst of Battles” was the highly imaginative national standard of the ancient Irish.