This poem comments upon the Irishmen who left their native land to fight in foreign wars. It is a sad fact that many Irish nationals have died in overseas conflict while their own nation lay in the chains of bondage.
The Battle Eve of the Brigade
The mess-tent is full, and the glasses are set,
And the gallant Count Thomond is president yet;
The veteran stands, like an uplifted lance,
Crying-‘Comrades, a health to the monarch of France! ‘
With bumpers and cheers they have done as he bade,
For King Louis is loved by the Irish Brigade.
‘A health to King James,’ and they bent as they quaffed,
‘Here’s to George the Elector,’ and fiercely they laughed,
‘Good luck to the girls we wooed long ago,
Where Shannon and Barrow and Blackwater flow; ‘
‘God prosper Old Ireland,’-you’d think them afraid,
So pale grew the chiefs of the Irish Brigade.
‘But, surely, that light cannot come from our lamp,
And that noise-are they all getting drunk in the camp? ‘
‘Hurrah! boys, the morning of battle is come,
And the générale’s beating on many a drum.’
So they rush from the revel to join the parade:
For the van is the right of the Irish Brigade.
They fought as they revelled, fast, fiery, and true,
And, though victors, they left on the field not a few;
And they who survived fought and drank as of yore,
But the land of their heart’s hope they never saw more;
For in far foreign fields, from Dunkirk to Belgrade,
Lie the soldiers and chiefs of the Irish Brigade.