Biography of Thomas Davis
Thomas Davis was born in the town of Mallow in the county of Cork, the son of a Welsh father, a surgeon in the Royal Artillery, and an Irish mother. His father died one month after his birth and his mother moved to Warrington Place near Mount Street bridge in Dublin. In 1830, they moved to 67 Lower Baggot Street. He attended school in Lower Mount Street before studying in Trinity College, Dublin. He graduated in Law and received an Arts degree in 1836, precursory to his being called to the Irish Bar in 1838.
He established The Nation newspaper with Charles Gavan Duffy and John Blake Dillon. He dedicated his life to Irish nationalism.
He wrote some stirring nationalistic ballads, originally contributed to The Nation, and afterwards republished as Spirit of the Nation, as well as a memoir of Curran, the Irish lawyer and orator, prefixed to an edition of his speeches, and a history of King James II's parliament of 1689; and he had formed many literary plans which were brought to naught by his death, from tuberculosis, in 1845 at the age of 30. He is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.
He himself was a Protestant, but preached unity between Catholics and Protestants. To Davis, it was not blood that made a person Irish, but the willingness to be part of the Irish nation. Although the Saxon and Dane were, Davis asserted, objects of unpopularity, their descendants would be Irish if they simply allowed themselves to be.
He was to the fore of Irish nationalist thinking and it has been noted by later nationalist heroes, such as Padraig Pearse, that while Wolfe Tone laid out the basic premise that Ireland as a nation must be free, Davis was the one who built this idea up promoting the Irish identity.
He is the author of the famous Irish rebel song A Nation Once Again. He also wrote the Lament for Owen Roe O'Neill.
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Thomas Davis Poems
The Flower Of Finae
Bright red is the sun on the waves of Lough Sheelin, A cool, gentle breeze from the mountain is stealing, While fair round its islets the small ripples play, But fairer than all is the Flower of Finae.
Thrice, at the huts of Fontenoy, the English column failed, And twice the lines of Saint Antoine the Dutch in vain assailed; For town and slope were filled with fort and flanking battery, And well they swept the English ranks and Dutch auxiliary.
The Green Above The Red
Full often when our fathers saw the Red above the Green, They rose in rude but fierce array, with sabre, pike and scian, And over many a noble town, and many a field of dead, They proudly set the Irish Green above the English Red.
Shall they bury me in the deep, Where wind-forgetting waters sleep? Shall they dig a grave for me, Under the green-wood tree? Or on the wild heath, Where the wilder breath Of the storm doth blow? Oh, no! oh, no!
Celts and Saxons
We hate the Saxon and the Dane, We hate the Norman men- We cursed their greed for blood and gain, We curse them now again.
A Song For The Irish Militia
The tribune's tongue and poet's pen May sow the seed in prostrate men; But 'tis the soldier's sword alone Can reap the crop so bravely sown!
She is a rich and rare land; Oh! she's a fresh and fair land; She is a dear and rare land This native land of mine.
Lament For The Death Of Eoghan Ruadh O'n...
'Did they dare, did they dare, to slay Eoghan Ruadh O'Neill? ' 'Yes, they slew with poison him they feared to meet with steel.' 'May God wither up their hearts! May their blood cease to flow! May they walk in living death, who poisoned Eoghan Ruadh! '
A Nation Once Again
When boyhood's fire was in my blood I read of ancient freemen For Greece and Rome who bravely stood, THREE HUNDRED MEN AND THREE MEN.
Chisel the likeness of The Chief, Not in gaiety, nor grief; Change not by your art to stone, Ireland's laugh, or Ireland's moan. Dark her tale, and none can tell Its fearful chronicle so well. Her frame is bent-her wounds are deep Who, like him, her woes can weep?
The Geraldines! The Geraldines! - 'tis full a thousand years Since, 'mid the Tuscan vineyards, bright flashed their battle-spears; When Capet seized the crown of France, their iron shields were known, And their sabre dint struck terror on the banks of the Garonne;
A Nation's voice, a nation's voice It is a solemn thing! It bids the bondage-sick rejoice 'Tis stronger than a king.
There flows from her spirit such love and delight, That the face of Blind Mary is radiant with light As the gleam from a homestead through darkness will show Or the moon glimmer soft through the fast falling snow.
The Girl Of Dunbwy
'Tis pretty to see the girl of Dunbwy Stepping the mountain statelily Though ragged her gown, and naked her feet, No lady in Ireland to match her is meet.
Shall they bury me in the deep,
Where wind-forgetting waters sleep?
Shall they dig a grave for me,
Under the green-wood tree?
Or on the wild heath,
Where the wilder breath
Of the storm doth blow?
Oh, no! oh, no!