Thomas Davis Poem on Wolfe Tone’s Grave

Tone’s Grave

In Bodenstown Churchyard there is a green grave,
And wildly along it the winter winds rave;
Small shelter, I ween, are the ruined walls there,
When the storm sweeps down on the plains of Kildare.

Once I lay on that sod-it lies over Wolfe Tone-
And thought how he perished in prison alone,
His friends unavenged, and his country unfreed-
‘Oh, bitter,’ I said, ‘is the patriot’s meed;

‘For in him the heart of a woman combined
With a heroic life and a governing mind-
A martyr for Ireland-his grave has no stone-
His name seldom named, and his virtues unknown.’

I was woke from my dream by the voices and tread
Of a band, who came into the home of the dead;
They carried no corpse, and they carried no stone,
And they stopped when they came to the grave of Wolfe Tone.

There were students and peasants, the wise and the brave,
And an old man who knew him from cradle to grave,
And children who thought me hard-hearted; for they
On that sanctified sod were forbidden to play.

But the old man, who saw I was mourning there, said:
‘We come, sir, to weep where young Wolfe Tone is laid,
And we’re going to raise him a monument, too-
A plain one, yet fit for the simple and true.’

My heart overflowed, and I clasped his old hand,
And I blessed him, and blessed every one of his band:
‘Sweet! sweet! ’tis to find that such faith can remain
To the cause, and the man so long vanquished and slain.’

In Bodenstown Churchyard there is a green grave,
And freely around it let winter winds rave-
Far better they suit him-the ruin and gloom-
Till Ireland, a nation, can build him a tomb.

Thomas Davis

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