Angry verse on this 148th anniversary of Thomas D'Arcy McGee's assassination found in Evan MacColl's Poems and Songs (Toronto: Hunter, Rose, 1883).
A WORD WITH THE FENIAN BROTHERHOOD
(Suggested by the assassination of Thomas D'Arcy McGee, in 1868)
"The Fenian Brotherhood "! the phrase sounds well,
But what's your right to such a title, tell?
Strangers alike to honour, truth, and shame—
Conspirators to aim at Fenian fame!
If truly sang the bard of Selma old,
The Fenian race were of no cut-throat mould;
Though sometimes they in Erin loved to roam,
A land more north was their heroic home;
The "Cothrom Féine," was their pride and boast;
Of all base things they scorned a braggart most;
Besides 'twas not a custom in their day,
Assassin-like, one's victim to way-lay
And shoot unseen contented if, cash down,
The price of blood were only half-a crown!
Fenians, indeed! all true men of that race
Fraternity with you would deem disgrace;
Fenians, forsooth! renounce that honour'd name;
"Thugs" would more fitly suit your claim to fame!
Poor souls, I pity your demented state;
You will be vicious if you can't be great.
Better for Erin any fate would be,
Than to be ruled by bedlamites like ye:
The war of the Kilkenny cats renewed,
She'd find, I think, a very doubtful good.
O wondrous-valiant, treason-hatching crew,
If words were deeds, what great things might ye do?
Ye, who have left your country for her good—
Ye talk of righting all her wrongs in blood!
'Tis laughable — the more so, that we feel
Your necks were made for hemp, and not for steel.
At Britain's lion you may spare your howls,—
That noble beast is never scared by owls;
Tis well for you, with all your vapouring frantic,
You have 'tween him and you the broad Atlantic.
Let no one think that he who now cries shame
On your misdeeds, your Celtic blood would blame;
A Celt himself, his great grief is to see
The land that nursed you cursed by such as ye.
So bright the record of her better days—
So much to love she still to us displays—
So rich her heritage of wit and song—
So warm her heart, so eloquent her tongue,
He honours Erin. 'Tis to fools like you
Alone the tribute of his scorn is due.
Union is strength. Joy to the nations three
As now united! May they ever be
The first and foremost in fair freedom's van—
An empire built upon the Shamrock plan—
A seeming THREE and yet a perfect ONE.