Tuesday, 27 July 2010
The Enoch series part 5: "The Exile of Erin"
This is "the poem to Armagh" mentioned in the first post of this series. It is reprinted here in it's entirety - it maybe a world exclusive!
The author of this poem was Enoch W Fitzhenry and is dated April 18, 1825, Knox County, Ohio.
The poem was copied by Josephine Fitzhenry Hodge from a typed copy. The location of original is unknown, Mrs Hodge assumes that possibly a descendant of Edward FitzHenry has the original. Enoch Henry’s is recorded in Knox County Court Session of Oct 1824 (he often went under the name of name of Enoch F. Henry as we have seen in the other postings in this series).
The poem is a poignant ballad of a man who longs for the natural beauty of his homeland and the family he has left. This is in contrast to Enoch's lack of correspondence with his Irish Fitzhenry family. Only one line hints at violence: this may have been the personal efforts of his brothers to save him, or it may be a nod to the general Irish brotherhood of the Irish uprising and the political upheaval that was to come in Ireland when Enoch left, and was more than 20 years in the past when this poem was penned
("Ah, never again shall my brothers embrace me;
They died to defend me, or live to deplore!").
Erin (or the Gaelic spelling, Eirinn) was a general term for Ireland (rather than just Armagh) and was used by the Irish Nationalists as a female personification of their homeland. "Erin go Bragh" is an Anglicised version of the Gaelic and translates as "Erin forever", and was a slogan of the Irish uprising of 1798. The last line translates as “Erin my love_____ Erin forever”
THE EXILE OF ERIN
There came to the beach a poor Exile of Erin,
The dew on his thin robe was heavy and chill,
For his country he sighed, when at twilight repairing
To wander alone by the wind beaten hill; ____
But the day star attracted his eyes sad devotion;
For it rose on his own native Isle of the ocean,
Where once in the flow of his youthful emotion,
He sung the bold Anthem of “Erin go bragh!”
Oh, sad is my fate! (said the heart broken stranger)
The wild deer and wolf to a covert can flee;
But I have no refuge from famine and danger; _____
A home and a country remain not to me!
Ah, never again in the green sunny bowers,
Where my fore-fathers lived shall I spend the sweet hours,
Or cover my harp with the wild woven flowers _____
That strike to the numbers of “Erin go bragh!”
Erin, my country, though sad and forsaken,
In dreams I revisit thy sea beaten shore;
But, alone in a far foreign land I awaken,
and sigh for the friends, who can meet me no more;
O, cruel fate! wilt thou never replace me,
In a mansion of peace, where no perils can chase me?
Ah, never again shall my brothers embrace me;
They died to defend me, or live to deplore!
Those in my cabbin-door, fast by the wildwood!
Sisters and Sire have you wept for its fall?
Where is the Mother that looked on my childhood?
And where is the bosom friend dearer than all?
Ah, my sad day! long abandoned to pleasure,
When will it doat on a fast fading treasure?
Tears like the rain drop, fall without measure _____
But yet, all its fond Recollections suppressing,
One dying wish my lone bosom shall draw; ____
Erin, an Exile bequesthes thee his blessing!
Land of my forefathers “Erin go bragh!”
Buried and cold, when my heart stills its motion,
Green be thy fields, sweetest isle of the ocean!
And the harp-stringing bards sing aloud with devotion,
“Erin my voreen”_____ “Erin go bragh!”
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written by Jo Fitz-Henry