The Exile to His Country

We present this work in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

Mary Anne Holmes
1773 – 1805


Ah! where is now my peaceful cot?
And where my happy home?
Far distant from that cherished spot,
In banishment, I roam.
From thee, my country! I am driven;
A wanderer forced from thee;
But yet my constant prayer to Heaven
Shall be to make thee free.

How blissful once my lot appeared!
How brightly Fortune smiled!
My daily toil by hope was cheered,
By happiness beguiled.
My blooming children played around;
Their mother blessed each hour;
Till tyrants on our prospects frowned,
And crushed us with their power.
They burned our humble dwelling then
Our little all destroyed;
And left us, the hard-hearted men!
Of every hope devoid.
And thus, my country! I was driven,
A wanderer far from thee;
But yet my ceaseless prayer to Heaven
Has been to make thee free

My helpless children sobbed aloud
Upon the parting day;
My Mary’s head with grief was bowed;
Oh how I wished to stay!
With anguish o’er the spot we mourned,
Where long our cottage stood;
And, as we went, we often turned
To view the neighbouring wood.
And when our vessel put to sea,
As dimmer grew the shore,
My bosom panted heavily,
To think that, never more,
My eyes upon that land should gaze,
Where all my youth was spent;
And where I thought to end my days,
In virtue and content.

Can virtue make content secure,
While tyrants may destroy
The simple blessings of the poor,
And blast their rising joy?
My loved, lost Country! ruined, driven,
An exile far from thee,
My last and fondest prayer to Heaven
Shall be to make thee free.

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