Sir Cahir O'Doherty's Message

by T.D. McGee

Shall the children of Ulster despair?
Shall Aileach but echo to groans?
Shall the line of Conn tamely repair
To the charnel, and leave it their bones?

Sleeps the soul of O'Neill in Tyrone?
Glance no axes around by Lough Erne?
Has Clan Rannall the heart of a stone?
Does O'Boyle hide his head in the fern?

Go, tell them O'Doherty waits, --
Waits harnessed and mounted and all,
That his pike-staves are made of his gates--
That his bed's by the white waterfall!
Say, he turneth his back on the sea,
Though the sail flaps to bear him afar!
Say, he never will falter or flee,
While ten men are found willing for war!

Bid them mark his death-day in their books,
And hide for the future the tale;
But insult not his corpse with cold looks,
Nor remember him over their ale.--
If they come not in arms and in rage,
Let them stay, he can battle alone,
For, one flag, in this fetter-worn age
Is still flying in free Innishowen!

If the children of Chieftains you see,
Oh, pause and repeat to them, then,
That Cahir who lives by the sea,
Bids them think of him, when they are men;
Bids them watch for new Chiefs to arise,
And be ready to come at their call--
Bids them mourn not for him if he dies,
But like him live to conquer or fall!

From The Ballads of Ireland, Vol. 2, By Edward Hayes, 1857