CANADIAN BALLADS,

AND

OCCASIONAL VERSES.

By Thomas D’Arcy McGee


 

’TWAS SOMETHING THEN TO BE A BARD.



I.
 


In long gone days when he who bore
       The potent harp from hall to hall,
His courier running on before,
       His castle where he chose to call;
When youthful nobles watched for him,

5
 

       And ladies fair, with fond regard,
Fill’d the bright wine-cup to the brim,
       ’Twas something then to be a Bard.


II.
 


When seated by the chieftain’s chair,
       The Minstrel told his pictur’d tale,

10
 

Of whence they came and who they were,
       The ancient stock of Innisfail—
When the grey steward of the house
       Laid at his feet the rich reward,
Gay monarch of the long carouse,

15
 

       ’Twas something then to be a Bard. [Page 79]


III.
 


’Twas glorious then when banners waved,
       And chargers neighed, and lances gleamed,
When all was to be borne or braved
       That patriot zeal desired or dreamed—

20
 

’Twas glorious in mid-host to ride
       A king’s gift graceful as the ’pard,
With famous captains by his side
       Proud of the presence of the Bard.


IV.
 


’Twas glorious, too, ere age had power

25
 

       To dim the eye or chill the blood,
To fly to beauty’s evening bower,
       And lift from beauty’s brow the hood:
To feel that Heaven’s own sacred flame
       Can melt a heart however hard,

30
 

To gather love by right of fame—
       ’Twas glorious then to be a Bard. [Page 80]