How Oft Has the Banshee Cried

Melody - "The Dear Black Maid"

Thomas Moore, Irish Melodies, vol. 2, 1808

How oft has the Benshee cried!
How oft has death untied
Bright links that Glory wove.
Sweet bonds entwined by Love!
Peace to each manly soul that sleepeth;
Rest to each faithful eye that weepeth;
Long may the fair and brave
Sigh o'er the hero's grave!
2. We're fallen upon gloomy days!*
Star after star decays,
Every bright name that shed
Light o'er the land, is fled.
Dark falls the tear of him that mourneth
Lost joy, or hope that ne'er returrneth;
But brightly flows the tear
Wept o'er a heroes bier.
3. Quenched are our beacon lights
Thou, of the Hundred Fights!**
Thou, on whose burning tongue
Truth, peace and freedom hung!***
Both mute - but long as valour shineth,
Or mercy's soul at war repineth,
So long shall Erin's pride
Tell how they lived and died.

Footnotes from Irish Melodies:

* I have endeavoured here, without losing that Irish character which it is my object to preserve throughout the Irish Melodies, to allude to the sad and ominous fatality, by which England has been deprived of so many great and good men, at a moment when she most requires all the aids of talent and integrity.

** This designation, which has been before applied to Lord Nelson, is the title given to a celebrated Irish hero, in a Poem by O'Guive, the bard of O'Niel, which is quoted in the Philosophical Survey of the South of Ireland, page 433. "Con, of the hundred Fights, sleep in thy grass-grown tomb, and upbraid not our defeats with thy victories."

*** Fox, "Romanorum ultimus."

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