The Dugannon Convention
Poem By Thomas Osborne Davis
The church of Dungannon is full to the door,
And sabre and spur clash at times on the floor,
While helmet and shako are ranged all along,
Yet no book of devotion is seen in the throng.
In the front of the altar no minister stands,
But the crimson-clad chief of these warrior bands;
And, though solemn the looks and the voices around,
You'd listen in vain for a litany's sound.
Say! what do they hear in the temple of prayer?
Oh! why in the fold has the lion his lair?
Sad, wounded, and wan was the face of our isle,
By English oppression and falsehood and guile;
Yet when to invade it a foreign fleet steered,
To guard it for England the North volunteered.
From the citizen-soldiers the foe fled aghast--
Still they stood to their guns when the danger had passed,
For the voice of America came o'er the wave,
Crying: Woe to the tyrant, and hope to the slave!
Indignation and shame through their regiments speed:
They have arms in their hands, and what more do they need?
O'er the green hills of Ulster their banners are spread,
The cities of Leinster resound to their tread,
The valleys of Munster with ardour are stirred,
And the plains of wild Connaught their bugles have heard;
A Protestant front-rank and Catholic rere--
For--forbidden the arms of freemen to bear--
Yet foemen and friend are full sure, if need be,
The slave for his country will stand by the free.
By green flags supported, the Orange flags wave,
And the soldier half turns to unfetter the slave!
More honoured that church of Dungannon is now,
Than when at its altar communicants bow;
More welcome to heaven than anthem or prayer
Are the rites and the thoughts of the warriors there;
In the name of all Ireland the Delegates swore:
'We've suffered too long, and we'll suffer no more--
Unconquered by Force, we were vanquished by Fraud;
And now, in God's temple, we vow unto God
That never again shall the Englishman bind
His chains on our limbs, or his laws on our mind.'
The church of Dungannon is empty once more--
No plumes on the altar, no clash on the floor,
But the councils of England are fluttered to see,
In the cause of their country, the Irish agree;
So they give as a boon what they dare not withhold,
And Ireland, a nation, leaps up as of old,
With a name, and a trade, and a flag of her own,
And an army to fight for the people and throne.
But woe worth the day if to falsehood or fears
She surrenders the guns of her brave Volunteers!