Mary Eva Kelly: Irish Woman Poet

Mary Eva Kelly (1826–1910), better known as Eva of The Nation, was born in Headford, Co. Galway. She wrote poems from an early age . An enthusiastic supporter of the Young Irelanders, she published in The  United Irishman, The Felon and The Irish Tribune as well as Thomas Davis’ paper, The Nation. Her poems were collected in 1909.  The felon in the poem of that name was her fellow Young Irelander, John Mitchel.


‘Tis Ireland’s rallying cry,
We’ll raise it to the sky,
With flashing sword and eye —
The Felon!

‘Tis loud as trumpet’s call,
To rouse the sleepers all.
To strive — to strike — to fall! —
The Felon.

That great voice struck the chime
Of a new and wondrous time —
Those deep tones rang sublime
Through the land.

Never combat wrong with wrong;
In truth alone be strong!
Rise boldly — and, ere long
You are free!

Now, in this time of woe,
That Gospel truth we know,
No parley with the foe
Shall we hold.

As summer foliage riven
By the arrows of the levin,
From our hearts is softness driven
By that blow.

‘Tis the silent, brooding hour,
‘Twixt the strife of Right with Power,
Dark, lurid glances lower

Each red-hot passion, lo!
In this its liquid flow,
We mould as steel, that so
We avenge!

By the laws that maddening mock,
By the convict-ship and dock,
By that parting’s bitter shock,
Stand prepared!

By the all-unconquered mien,
In the final moment seen,
Undaunted and serene,
Nerve your hearts!

By his words, like sabre swing.
Calm, keen, unwavering.
To the winds endurance fling
From this day.

By the sacrifice that sealed
The doctrine he revealed,
Think, now, but of the field.
And of him.

For one, for two, for three!
Ay, hundreds, thousands, see.
For vengeance and for thee!
To the last!

Oh, surely shall we show
To that base, detested foe,
That even in wrong and woe
The victory was thine!



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