Ethna Carbery

Turlough MacSweeney

 Next Poem          

A health to you, Piper,
And your pipes silver-tongued, clear and sweet in their crooning!

Full of the music they gathered at morn
On your high heather hills from the lark on the wing,
From the blackbird at eve on the blossoming thorn,
From the little green linnet whose plaining they sing,
And the joy and the hope in the heart of the Spring,
O, Turlough MacSweeney!

Play us our Eire's most sorrowful songs,
As she sits by her reeds near the wash of the wave,
That the coldest may thrill at the count of her wrongs,
That the sword may flash forth from the scabbard to save,
And the wide land awake at the wrath of the brave,
O, Turlough MacSweeney!

Play as the bards played in days long ago,
When O'Donnell, arrayed for the foray or feast,
With your kinsmen from Bannat and Fannat and Doe,
With piping and harping, and blessing of priest,
Rode out in the blaze of the sun from the East,
O, Turlough MacSweeney!

Play as they played in that rapturous hour
When the clans heard in gladness his young fiery call
Who burst from the gloom of the Sassenach tower,
And sped to the welcome in dear Donegal,
Then on to his hailing as chieftain of all–
O, Turlough MacSweeney!

Play as they played, when, a trumpet of war,
His voice for the rally, pealed up to the blue,
And the kerns from the hills and the glens and the scaur
Marched after the banner of conquering Hugh–
Led into the fray by a piper like you,
O, Turlough MacSweeney!

And surely no note of such music shall fail,
Wherever the speech of our Eire is heard,
To foster the hope of the passionate Gael,
To fan the old hatred, relentless when stirred,
To strengthen our souls for the strife to be dared,
O, Turlough MacSweeney!

May your pipes, silver-tongued, clear and sweet in their crooning,
Keep the magic they captured at dawning and even
From the blackbird at home, and the lark on its journey,
From the thrush on its spray, and the little green linnet.
A health to you, Piper!

Next Poem 

 Back to
Ethna Carbery