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The Rebel, Patrick H. Pearse

The Rebel

I am come of the seed of the people, the people that sorrow;
Who have no treasure but hope,
No riches laid up but a memory of an ancient glory,
My mother bore me in bondage, in bondage my mother was born,
I am of the blood of serfs;
The children with whom I have played, the men and women with whom I have eaten
Have had masters over them, have been under the lash of masters,
and though gentle, have served churls.
The hands that have touched mine,
the dear hands whose touch is familiar to me,
Have worn shameful manacles, have been bitten at the wrist by manacles,
have grown hard with the manacles and the task-work of strangers.
I am flesh of the flesh of these lowly, I am bone of their bone I that have never submitted;
I that have a soul greater than the souls of my people’s masters,
I that have vision and prophecy, and the gift of fiery speech…
And because I am of the people, I understand the people,
I am sorrowful with their sorrow, I am hungry with their desire;
My heart is heavy with the grief of mothers,
My eyes have been wet with the tears of children,
I have yearned with old wistful men
And laughed and cursed with young men;
Their shame is my shame, and I have reddened for it,
Reddened for that they have served, they who should be free,
Reddened for that they have gone in want, while others have been full,
Reddened for that they have walked in fear of lawyers and their jailers.
With their Writs of Summons and their handcuffs,
Men mean and cruel.
I could have borne stripes on my body,
Rather than this shame of my people.
And now I speak, being full of vision:
I speak to my people, and I speak in my people’s name to
The masters of my people:
I say to my people that they are holy,
That they are august despite their chains.
That they are greater than those that hold them
And stronger and purer,
That they have but need of courage…
And I say to my people’s masters: Beware,
Beware of the thing that is coming, beware of the risen people
Who shall take what ye would not give.
Did ye think to conquer the people, or that law is stronger than life,
And than men’s desire to be free?
We will try it out with you ye that have harried and held,
Ye that have bullied and bribed.
Tyrants… hypocrites… liars!

Patrick Hnery Pearse,


7 comments on “The Rebel, Patrick H. Pearse

  1. Sílim féin go bhfuil an ceann seo níos cumhachtaí:

    The Fool – P H Pearse:

    Since the wise men have not spoken, I speak that am only a fool;
    A fool that hath loved his folly,
    Yea, more than the wise men their books or their counting houses or their quiet homes,
    Or their fame in men’s mouths;
    A fool that in all his days hath done never a prudent thing,
    Never hath counted the cost, nor recked if another reaped
    The fruit of his mighty sowing, content to scatter the seed;
    A fool that is unrepentant, and that soon at the end of all
    Shall laugh in his lonely heart as the ripe ears fall to the reaping-hooks
    And the poor are filled that were empty,
    Tho’ he go hungry.
    I have squandered the splendid years that the Lord God gave to my youth
    In attempting impossible things, deeming them alone worth the toil.

    Was it folly or grace? Not men shall judge me, but God.
    I have squandered the splendid years:
    Lord, if I had the years I would squander them over again,
    Aye, fling them from me!
    For this I have heard in my heart, that a man shall scatter, not hoard,
    Shall do the deed of to-day, nor take thought of to-morrow’s teen,
    Shall not bargain or huxter with God; or was it a jest of Christ’s
    And is this my sin before men, to have taken Him at His word?
    The lawyers have sat in council, the men with the keen, long faces,
    And said, `This man is a fool,’ and others have said, `He blasphemeth; ‘
    And the wise have pitied the fool that hath striven to give a life
    In the world of time and space among the bulks of actual things,
    To a dream that was dreamed in the heart, and that only the heart could hold.

    O wise men, riddle me this: what if the dream come true?
    What if the dream come true? and if millions unborn shall dwell
    In the house that I shaped in my heart, the noble house of my thought?
    Lord, I have staked my soul, I have staked the lives of my kin
    On the truth of Thy dreadful word. Do not remember my failures,
    But remember this my faith
    And so I speak.
    Yea, ere my hot youth pass, I speak to my people and say:
    Ye shall be foolish as I; ye shall scatter, not save;
    Ye shall venture your all, lest ye lose what is more than all;
    Ye shall call for a miracle, taking Christ at His word.
    And for this I will answer, O people, answer here and hereafter,
    O people that I have loved, shall we not answer together?


  2. Eileen Healy

    Both powerful Never heard either before—Ach an céad ceann ! !! Conas a deirfeà ” it Came from the essence. Of. His being”? Awaiting a translation🐻


  3. bradhar

    D’eascair sé ó nádúr a chroí istigh?
    ó mhianach a chroí?


  4. An sionnach fionn, I think there is an error in the first line of your ‘the rebel’ poem?


  5. ‘I am come’……should it not read ‘I am some of the seed’?


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