O sorrowful fair land! shall we not love
Whom thou hast cradled on thy bounteous
Though all unstarred and dark the clouds
Thy children shall arise and call thee blest.
Never our lips can name thee, Mother, coldly,
Nor our ears hear thy sweet, sad name
And if from deeper pain our arms might
Were it not well with us, O best beloved!
Yet when we hymn thy praise, what words
Not the sweet cadences thy lips have
Accents are these to alien lands belonging,
Gifts from another shrine thine own have
For, ah! our memory, in the darkened years
Of thy long pain, hath waxen dim and
And we’ve forgot for weariness and tears
Our grand old tongue of poet and of saint.
Most like a little child with meek surrender,
Learning its lesson at the mother’s knees,
Come we to hear our own tongue, soft and
As wordless bird-songs in unnumbered
And now it shall not die; through all the ages
Thy sons shall hold it still, for love of thee,
This strong sweet tongue of warriors and
Who served thee much, yet loved not
more than we.