The Foggy Dew

As down the glen one Easter morn to a city fair rode I

There armed lines of marching men in squadrons passed me by

No pipe did hum no battle drum did sound its loud tattoo

But the Angelus bells o’er the Liffey swell rang out in the foggy dew


Right proudly high over Dublin Town they hung out the flag of war

’Twas better to die ’neath an Irish sky than at Suvla or Sud el Bar

And from the plains of Royal Meath strong men came hurrying through

While Britannia’s huns, with their long range guns sailed in through the foggy dew


Oh the night fell black, and the rifles’ crack made perfidious Albion reel

In the leaden rain, seven tongues of flame did shine o’er the lines of steel

By each shining blade a prayer was said, that to Ireland her sons be true

But when morning broke, still the war flag shook out its folds in the foggy dew


’Twas Britannia bad our wild geese go that small nations might be free

But their lonely graves are by Suvla’s waves or the shore of the great North Sea

Oh, had they died by Pearse’s side or fought with Cathal Brugha

Their names we would keep where the Fenians sleep ’neath the shroud of the foggy dew


And the bravest fell, and the Requiem bell rang mournfully and clear

For those who died that Eastertide in the springing of the year

While the world did gaze in deep amaze at those fearless men but few

Who bore the fight that freedom’s light might shine through the foggy dew


As back through the glen I rode again and my heart with grief was sore

For I parted then with valiant men whom I never shall see more

But to and fro in my dreams I go and I kneel and pray for you,

For slavery fled O glorious dead when you fell in the foggy dew


—Charles O’Neill

Note:  Most performances skip one or two of even three of the verses here.
A good three-verse version might be composed of the first, second, and fifth verses above.
“The Foggy Dew” was written by Canon O’Neill after he attended the first sitting of An Dáil Éireann, the Irish parliament, in 1919. The tune is that of “The Moorlough Shore”.
It has been translated into Irish, “An Drúcht Geal Ceo”, by Séamas Ó Grianna.