Theresa O’Connor

Song of the Celts — Irish History in Song

The Wolfe Tones’ paean to pan-Celticism, “Song of the Celts” appears on their excellent Spirit of the Nation, and is set to a traditional tune whose name eludes me.

There’s a blossom that blows, that scoffs at the snows
And it faces root fast the rage of the blast
It sweetens the sod no slave ever trod
Since the mountains upreared their altars to God

The flower of the free, the heather, the heather
The Bretons and Scots and Irish together
The Manx and the Welsh and Cornish forever
Six nations are we — proud, Celtic, and free

Our blossom is red as the life’s blood we shed
For liberty’s cause against alien laws
When Lochiel and O’Neill and Llewellyn drew steel
For Alba and Erin and Cambria’s weal

Let the Saxon and Dane bear the rule o’er the plain
On the hem of God’s robe is our sceptre and globe
For the Lord of all light revealed in his height
For heaven and earth rose up in his sight