Before the Battle

Melody - "The Fairy Queen"

Thomas Moore, from Irish Melodies, vol. 3

By the hope within us springing,
Herald of to-morrow's strife;
By that sun, whose light is bringing
Chains or freedom, death or life
Oh! remember life can be
No charm for him, who lives not free!
Like the day-star in the wave,
Sinks a hero in his grave,
'Midst the dew-fall of a nation's tears.

Happy is he o'er whose decline
The smiles of home may soothing shine,
And light him down the steep of years:
But oh, how blest they sink to rest,
Who close their eyes on victory's breast!

O'er his watch-fire's fading embers
Now the foeman's cheek turns white,
When his heart that field remembers,
Where we tamed his tyrant might.
Never let him bind again
A chain like that we broke from then.
Hark! the horn of combat calls
Ere the golden evening falls,
May we pledge that horn in triumph round.*

Many a heart that now beats high,
In slumber cold at night shall lie,
Nor waken even at victory's sound:
But oh how blest that hero's sleep,
O'er whom a wondering world shall weep!

* The Irish Corna was not entirely devoted to martial purposes. In the heroic ages, our ancestors quaffed Meadh out of them, as the Danish hunters do their beverage at this day. - Walker. Note from Irish Melodies.

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