1811 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

Charles Philips, "Verses occasioned by Walter Scott's Invocation to Ireland, in the Vision of Don Roderick, ending 'Strike the bold harp, green isle'" Morning Chronicle (24 July 1811).



Alas, Border Minstrel, the summons is vain,
For unstrung is the harp, and forgotten the strain,
Which Erin once sung in her pride—
And now, robbed of the glories that brighten'd her reign,
To the heart-rending clank of a Conqueror's chain,
All tuneless she wanders the desolate plain,
With the blood of her patriots dyed!

Tho' an halo of glory should circle her son,
And Victory envy the laurels he won,
To her they are symbols of shame.
For never can dignity beam on his brow,
Till first he has plighted the profligate vow,
To live as a foe to her fame!

Gone, gone are the days when the western gale
Awoke every voice of the lake and the vale,
With the harp and the lute and the lyre;
When Justice uplifted her adamant shield,
And Valour and Freedom illumin'd the field
With a sword and a plumage of fire!

And now, Border Minstrel, the Bigot and Slave
Pollute the pure land of the free-born brave,
The land of the sigh and the smile—
Then accurs'd be the Irishman's heart that could sing,
And wither'd the hand that would waken the string,
Till the Angel of Liberty wave her wild wing
Again o'er the emerald isle.