Freeman’s Jounal

When the Irish Flag Went By


Henry Lawson

’TWAS Eight-Hour Day, and proudly
        Old Labour led the way;
The drums were bearing loudly,
        The crowded streets were gay;
But something touched my heart like pain,
        I could not check the sigh
That rose within my bosom when
        The Irish Flag went by.

Bright flags were raised about it
        And one of them my own:
And patriots trod beneath it—
        But it seemed all alone.
I thought of ruined Ireland
        While crystals from the sky
Fell soft like tears by angels shed,
        As the Irish Flag went by.

I love the dark green standard
        As Irish patriots do;
It waves above the rebels,
        And I’m a rebel too,
I thought of Ireland’s darkest years,
        Her griefs that follow fast;
For drooping as ’twere drenched with tears
        The Irish Flag went past.

And though ’twas not in Erin
        That my forefathers trod;
And though my wandering footsteps
        Ne’er pressed the “dear old sod”,
I felt the wrongs the Irish feel
        Beneath the northern sky.
And felt the rebel in my heart
        When the Irish Flag went by.

I tell you, men of England,
        Who rule the land by might;
I tell you, Irish traitors
        Who sell the sons of light,
The tyranny shall fail at last,
        That changeful days are nigh;
And you shall dip your red flag yet,
        When the Irish Flag goes by.

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