On Being Irishman Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde
THERE was a time in Europe long ago
When no man died for freedom anywhere,
But England’s lion leaping from its lair
Laid hands on the oppressor! it was so
While England could a great Republic show.
Witness the men of Piedmont, chiefest care
Of Cromwell, when with impotent despair
The Pontiff in his painted portico
Trembled before our stern ambassadors.
How comes it then that from such high estate
We have thus fallen, save that Luxury
With barren merchandise piles up the gate
Where nobler thoughts and deeds should enter by:
Else might we still be Milton’s heritors.
*I know, I know… it’s a poem less about Ireland and more about the United Kingdom. Okay, granted — it’s all about England and its fall from dynastic grace but it sure seems applicable to today’s current United Empire, no?