Well… we’ve been “free” now for nigh-on 90 years, and we’re still not at peace. In fact it’s arguable that we are relatively worse off since blood-sacrifice headbanger Patrick Pearse made his signature oratory at the graveside of O’Donovan Rossa in 1915.
There are people out there, perhaps in the majority, who still think those oft-quoted words constitute a profound statement. The patriot living tend to recall the following, penned by the same author, less frequently:
Little lad of the tricks,
Full well I know
That you have been in mischief:
Confess your fault truly.
I forgive you, child
Of the soft red mouth:
I will not condemn anyone
For a sin not understood.
Raise your comely head
Till I kiss your mouth:
If either of us is the better of that
I am the better of it.
There is a fragrance in your kiss
That I have not found yet
In the kisses of women
Or in the honey of their bodies.
Lad of the grey eyes,
That flush in thy cheek
Would be white with dread of me
Could you read my secrets.
He who has my secrets
Is not fit to touch you:
Is not that a pitiful thing,
Little lad of the tricks ?
Pearse, conveniently, was a schoolteacher – as was Dev himself (see pic above, kindly sent in by a reader). Quite a few other of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation, with its two invocations to God, were self-proclaimed poets... as most poets are.
Then you had once-socialist-internationalist James Connolly (who had seen Esperanto as the future lingua franca of a liberated proletariat... language being a barrier to international unity and understanding) getting all disillusioned after the failure of the 1912 Lockout and the slaughter of the First World War, throwing his lot - and his Citizen Army comrades - in with the vanguard nationalists, Catholic supremacists, and Gaelic Leaguers of the emerging Irish bourgeoisie.
Is it any wonder things worked out the way they did?
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