Saturday, 8 August 2020

The Gael to Saint Dominic


 Today is the feast of Saint Dominic and below is a poem in his honour by P J Coleman which appeared in The Rosary Magazine of 1903. I don't know anything of the author, except that he was a regular contributor to this journal. Poetry, much of it of dubious literary merit, was very much a feature of the religious press at this time. What was striking to me about 'The Gael to Saint Dominic' is the recognition of the specifically Dominican contribution to Ireland as a nation suffering persecution. Saint Dominic is first associated with the three patrons of Ireland and his Rosary is the one consolation left when the people have been deprived of the Mass, preferring death to error, power or riches. There is a very typical romantic invocation of windswept monastic ruins before the final verse imagines the 'throngs of Gaelic dead' and 'hosts with the martyr's palm' who will bless the 'sandaled sons' of Saint Dominic in heaven.


THE GAEL TO SAINT DOMINIC

P. J. COLEMAN

SAINT of the Rosary, to Ireland's heart
With Patrick, Brigid and Columba dear,
Though sword might pierce and persecution sear,
Thy name, Beloved, cased its keenest smart.
When error's hosts, inspired with fiendish art,
Against her raged with proud, satanic spear.
Beneath thine aegis nothing did she fear.
But braved Hell's legions and their leader swart.

Yea, when her sons of priest and fane were reft
And, tabernacl'd far in wood and cave,
The Eucharistic Christ by law was bann'd.
To Ireland still thy Rosary was left;
 For Mary's sake their lives her children gave
And in their blood baptismal blessed the land.

The shrines our fathers builded thee of old
Are mould' ring now in Irish mead and vale,
Through ruined aisles the winds of Ireland wail,
Where sleep thy sons in holy cloisters cold.
But dearer far than sceptered power or gold,
Is Mary still unto her loving Gael;
And, Dominic! in their hearts thou dost prevail,
With love of Ireland's children aureol'd!

Oh, in the last dread Judgment hour what throngs
Of Gaelic dead shall bless thy sandaled sons
Who brought them in their grief religion's balm!
What tribes shall flock with proud exultant songs
About thy feet! With jubilant orisons
What hosts shall gather with the martyr's palm!

The Rosary Magazine, Volume 23, July-December (1903), 192.

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