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I bought a shirt in Ireland with part of a poem on it. I'm wearing it now and finally decided to look up where it's from. (Yes, it has been a year. Yes, it is lame.)

The part on my shirt's bolded.

THE FAIR HILLS OF EIRE O
DONOGH MAC CON MARA 3
Take a blessing from my heart to the land of my birth
And the fair hills of Eire O
And to all that yet survive of Eibhear's tribe on earth
On the fair hills of Eire O
In that land so delightful the wild thrush's lay
Seems to pour a lament forth for Eire's decay
Alas alas why pine I a thousand miles away
From the fair hills of Eire O
The soil is rich and soft the air is mild and bland
Of the fair hills of Eire O
Her barest rock is greener to me than this rude land
O the fair hills of Eire O
Her woods are tall and straight grove rising over grove
Trees flourish in her glens below and on her heights above
Ah in heart and in soul I shall ever ever love
The fair hills of Eire O

A noble tribe moreover are the now hapless Gael
On the fair hills of Eire O
A tribe in battle's hour unused to shrink or fail
On the fair hills of Eire O For this is my lament in bitterness outpoured
To see them slain or scattered by the Saxon sword
O woe of woes to see a foreign spoiler horde
On the fair hills of Eire O
Broad and tall rise the cruacks in the golden morning glow
On the fair hills of Eire O
O er her smooth grass for ever sweet cream and honey flow
On the fair hills of Eire O
Oh I long I am pining again to behold The land that belongs to the brave Gael of old
Far dearer to my heart than a gift of gems or gold
Are the fair hills of Eire O
The dewdrops lie bright mid the grass and yellow corn
On the fair hills of Eire O
The sweet scented apples blush redly in the morn
On the fair hills of Eire O
The water cress and sorrel fill the vales below
The streamlets are hushed till the evening breezes blow
While the waves of the Suir noble river ever flow
Neath the fair hills of Eire O
A fruitful clime is Eire's through valley meadow plain
And the fair hills of Eire O The very bread of life is in the yellow grain
On the fair hills of Eire O Far dearer unto me than the tones music yields
Is the lowing of the kine and the calves in her fields
In the sunlight that shone long ago on the shields
Of the Gaels on the fair hills of Eire O
-From James Clarence Mangan His Selected Poems By James Clarence Mangan, Louise Imogen Guiney
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aeryn

March 2010

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