Tuesday 21 March 2023

Hymn to Saint Patrick

Another stirring patriotic hymn to Saint Patrick, this time from 1884. The author was the then vice-president of Thurles College, an institution first established as a school in 1837 but which later became a seminary. It is still in existence today as Mary Immaculate College and the campus retains many of its splendid nineteenth-century buildings. It is obvious from Father Arthur Ryan's hymn that he is writing in the heady days of the Irish national revival. Saint Patrick is referred to as a 'patriot saint' who champions faith and fatherland and has stood by the Irish people as they battled for their freedom. It may be that in his sense that 'morn is breaking', the author is anticipating the First Home Rule Bill of 1886 and he ends with a prayer that free from the chains of sin, he may be laid in 'a freeman's grave', an aspiration with a political as well as a spiritual dimension:


THE following beautiful hymn, from the pen of the Rev. A. Ryan, vice-president , The College, Thurles, is taken from his lately published novena to St. Patrick :—

Hail, glorious saint of Ireland! We,
Thy children, raise our song to thee;
Defend our land, and make her free
From sin and Satan's tyranny.

Defend thy sons from every foe;
Strike thou, O patriot saint! the blow 
For faith and fatherland; and woe
To all who seek their overthrow!

As reptiles fled thy staff before, 
May viperous discords flee our shore, 
And strife and folly join no more 
To wreck our hope and rob our store. 

In the darkest night, by tempests torn, 
The bark of Erin rode forlorn: 
Then wert thou by, to cheer and warn; 
Now, lo! the radiance of the morn. 
Yes, morn is breaking, father dear — 
The Eastern skies are bright and clear; 
Thou wert our star through midnight drear, 
In noontide's peril still be near. 
Be near to guide the patriot's hand, 
Be near to make our people stand 
A fearless, true, united band. 
For freedom, faith, and fatherland. 
Oh! guard our Irish loyalty  
To all that's justly, nobly free, 
To powers that rule by God's decree, 
To Church, to country, and to thee. 
Saint Patrick, may thy banner wave 
Triumphant o'er the enfranchised slave; 
From chains of sin thy suppliant save, 

Content Copyright © Trias Thaumaturga 2012-2023. All rights reserved.

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