At the grey dawn, amongst the felling leaves,
A little bird outside my window swung,
High on a topmost branch he trilled his song,
And 'Ireland! Ireland! Ireland!' ever sung.
Take me, I cried, back to my island home;
Sweet bird, my soul shall ride between thy wings;
For my lone spirit wide his pinions spread,
And home and home and home he ever sings.
We lingered over Ulster stern and wild.
I called: 'Arise! doth none remember me?'
One turn'd in the darkness murmuring,
'How loud upon the breakers sobs the sea!'
We rested over Connaught-whispering said:
'Awake, awake, and welcome! I am here.'
One woke and shivered at the morning grey;
'The trees, I never heard them sigh so drear.'
We flew low over Munster. Long I wept:
'You used to love me, love me once again!'
They spoke from out the shadows wondering;
'You'd think of tears, so bitter falls the rain.'
Long over Leinster lingered we. 'Good-bye!
My best beloved, good-bye for evermore.'
Sleepless they tossed and whispered to the dawn;
'So sad a wind was never heard before.'
Was it a dream I dreamt? For yet there swings
In the grey morn a bird upon the bough,
And 'Ireland! Ireland! Ireland!' ever sings.
Oh! fair the breaking day in Ireland now.