Poem by John Kenny – on the Death of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa

Poem Written on the Death of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, July 1915


Mourn ye not the hero’s passing

No tears of sorrow weep

As his weary form is borne

Out across the stormy deep.

He shall rest in holy Eire,

Where long his heart hath lain,

Where trefoil freshly glistens

In the soft, sweet Irish rain.


His undaunted soul shall hover

By the margin of that sea,

Where fell the might Brian

In the hour of victory;

Where Ben Edair’s frowning shadow

Is cast upon the tide.

Whose dark and troubled waters

Gael and Sassenagh divide.


There above the beetling cliff-brow,

By winds and water kissed,

The wraiths of Ireland’s heroes

Shall gather in the mist.

There his spirit shall commune with

The great ones of his race –

See the haughty shade of Parnell

And Emmet’s tragic face.


There the Geraldine shall hasten

From Maynotth’s dismantled keep,

With O’Neill, at last awakened

From his long enchanted sleep.

There the gleam of Lorcan’s crozier

And Brigid’s holy flame,

And the spear-flash of Cuchullain

Shall illumine each here name;


While the many-sided genius

Of the fated Celtic race

Shall spread her lightning aegis

And glorify the place;

Where Ben Edair, frowning eastward

Across the Irish seas,

Sees the hated flag of England

No longer foul the breeze;


For the shafts of desolation

Beneath the billows sweep—

And lo! Her proud leviathans

From the startled waters leap.

And her vaunted navies gather

In the shelter of her cliffs,

Whne the boastful English sea-dog

The breath of danger whiffs.


See her cower ‘neath the shadow

Of the German eagle’s wing,

While her cities dumb with terror,

Or with cries of anguish ring.

The phantom of the cloud-ship

Obscures her noon-day suns;

Oh her shore is heard the thunder

Of the coming Teuton’s guns.


Above, below, around her

The vengeance of the Lord

Shall seek her out with fire

With famine and with sword,

And the hosts that God has summoned

In the battle for the right

Are the Celtic faith and genius

And the Teuton skill and might.


Mourn ye not the hero’s passing:

No tears of sorrow weep; –

Light the sod will lie above him

And peaceful be his sleep.

If some spirit-whispers reach him

In his peaceful Irish grave,

“Britannia’s pirate standard

No longer rules the wave.”


Printed in the Gaelic American July 17, 1915.


also noted in the Gaelic American, July 17, 1915:

July 17, 1915 – John Kenny had an operation – underwent operation “last Saturday” at Miserecordia Hospital, East 86th St, NY.


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