‘England’s Difficulty, Ireland’s Opportunity’

by Maeve Cavanagh

Published: 8 August 1914

A poem by Maeve Cavanagh which appeared in the Irish Worker in August 1914: 


England’s Difficulty, Ireland’s Opportunity

‘I’ve hived the thought within my soul
Thro’ centuries of blood and tears,
And worn it as Hope’s aureole,
Above my crown of thorns for years
Fierce War, her lurid torch has lit;
She stalks upon her fiery way,
And, `phantom-like, her shadows flit
O’er England’s craven heart to-day.

Do I to England service owe?
Ask of my loved and murdered dead,
Methinks I hear their thundered ‘No!’
From out each red and narrow bend;
Let not the slaves’ advice prevail,
The craven spurn from out my way,
And who from lust of gold shall fail,
And in my morn of hope betray?

The foe whose flag above me waves,
Whose mailed fist has maimed me oft,
A whining supplicant, she craves
My aid to keep that flag aloft;
The mills of God grind slow but sure,
Then read this message on my brow,
No longer must my chains endure
Who’d serve me true must serve me now!

Maeve Cavanagh

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.