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Driscoll of Cork
Poetry
from the Chadwyck-Healey English Poetry Database


FINNEEN O'DRISCOLL THE ROVER

by Joyce, Robert Dwyer (1830-1883)

An old castle towers o'er the billows
  That thunder by Cleena's green land,
And there dwelt as gallant a rover
  As ever grasped hilt in the hand;
Eight stately towers of the waters
  Lie anchored in Baltimore Bay;
And over their twenty score sailors
  Bold Finneen the Rover holds sway.
    Then O, for Finneen the Rover,
       Finneen O'Driscoll the free,
    As straight as the mast of his galley,
       And strong as a wave of the sea!

The Saxons of Cork and Moyallo,
  They harried his coasts with their bands;
He gave them a taste of his cannon
  And drove them like wolves from his lands;
The men of Clan London brought over
  Their strong fleet to make him a slave;
He met them on Mizen's rough breakers,
  And the sharks crunched their bones 'neath the wave!
    Then O, for Finneen the Rover,
       Finneen O'Driscoll the free,
    With step like the red stag of Beara,
       And voice like the bold sounding sea!

Long time in that strong island castle,
  Or out on the waves with his clan,
He feasted and ventured and conquered,
  But ne'er struck his colours to man.
In a fight 'gainst the foes of his country
  He died as a brave man should die;
And he sleeps 'neath the waters of Cleena,
  Where the waves sing his keen to the sky.
    Then O! for Finneen the Rover,
       Finneen O'Driscoll the free,
    With eye like the osprey's at morning,
       And smile like the sun on the sea!

THE SACK OF BALTIMORE

Davis, Thomas Osborne (1814-1845)

The summer sun is falling soft on Carbery's hundred isles--
The summer's sun is gleaming still through Gabriel's rough defiles--
Old Inisherkin's crumbled fane looks like a moulting bird;
And in a calm and sleepy swell the ocean tide is heard;
The hookers lie upon the beach; the children cease their play;
The gossips leave the little inn; the households kneel to pray--
And full of love, and peace, and rest--its daily labour o'er--
Upon that cosy creek there lay the town of Baltimore.

A deeper rest, a starry trance, has come with midnight there;
No sound, except that throbbing wave, in earth, or sea, or air.
The massive capes, and ruined towers, seem conscious of the calm;
The fibrous sod and stunted trees are breathing heavy balm.
So still the night, these two long barques, round Dunashad that glide,
Must trust their oars--methinks not few--against the ebbing tide--
Oh! some sweet mission of true love must urge them to the shore--
They bring some lover to his bride, who sighs in Baltimore!

All, all asleep within each roof along that rocky street,
And these must be the lover's friends, with gently gliding feet--
A stifled gasp! a dreamy noise! "the roof is in a flame!"
From out their beds, and to their doors, rush maid, and sire, and dame--
And meet, upon the threshold stone, the gleaming sabre's fall,
And o'er each black and bearded face the white or crimson shawl--
The yell of "Allah" breaks above the prayer, and shriek, and roar--
Oh, blessed God! the Algerine is lord of Baltimore!

Then flung the youth his naked hand against the shearing sword;
Then sprung the mother on the brand with which her son was gored;
Then sunk the grandsire on the floor, his grand-babes clutching wild;
Then fled the maiden moaning faint, and nestled with the child;
But see, yon pirate strangled lies, and crushed with splashing heel,
While o'er him in an Irish hand there sweeps his Syrian steel--
Though virtue sink, and courage fail, and misers yield their store,
There's one hearth well avengéd in the sack of Baltimore!

Mid-summer morn, in woodland nigh, the birds began to sing--
They see not now the milking maids--deserted is the spring!
Mid-summer day--this gallant rides from distant Bandon's town--
These hookers crossed from stormy Skull, that skiff from Affadown;
They only found the smoking walls, with neighbours' blood besprent,
And on the strewed and trampled beach awhile they wildly went--
Then dashed to sea, and passed Cape Cléire, and saw five leagues before
The pirate galleys vanishing that ravaged Baltimore.

Oh! some must tug the galley's oar, and some must tend the steed--
This boy will bear a Scheik's chibouk, and that a Bey's jerreed.
Oh! some are for the arsenals, by beauteous Dardanelles;
And some are in the caravan to Mecca's sandy dells.
The maid that Bandon gallant sought is chosen for the Dey--
She's safe--she's dead--she stabbed him in the midst of his Serai;
And, when to die a death of fire, that noble maid they bore,
She only smiled--O'Driscoll's child--she thought of Baltimore.

'Tis two long years since sunk the town beneath that bloody band,
And all around its trampled hearths a larger concourse stand,
Where, high upon a gallows tree, a yelling wretch is seen--
'Tis Hackett of Dungarvan--he, who steered the Algerine!
He fell amid a sullen shout, with scarce a passing prayer,
For he had slain the kith and kin of many a hundred there--
Some muttered of MacMurchadh, who brought the Norman o'er--
Some cursed him with Iscariot, that day in Baltimore.



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