Political Writings and Speeches of Padraic H Pearse: Why we want volunteers, written May 1915
We want recruits because we have undertaken a service which we believe to be of vital importance to our country, and because that service needs whatever there is of manly stuff in Ireland in order to its effective rendering. We want recruits because we have a standard to rally them to. It is a not a new standard raised for the first time by the men of a new generation. It is an old standard which has been borne by many generations of Irish men, which has gone into many battles, which has looked down upon much battle which has looked down upon much glory and upon much sorrow; which has been a sign to be contradicted, but which shall yet shine as a star. There is no other standard in the world so august as the standard we bear; and it is the only standard which the men of Ireland may bear without abandoning their ancient allegiance. Individual Irishmen have sometimes fought under other standards; Ireland as a whole has never fought under any other. We want recruits because we have a faith to give them and a hope with which to inspire them. They are a faith and a hope which have been handed down from generation to generation of Irish men and women unto this last. The faith is that Ireland is one, that Ireland is inviolate, that Ireland is worthy of all love and all homage and all service that may lawfully be paid to any earthly thing; and the hope is that Ireland may be free. In a human sense, we have no desire, no ambition but the integrity, the honour, and the freedom of our native land. We want recruits because we are sure of the rightness of our cause. We have no misgivings, on self-questionings. While others have been serenely at peace with our consciences. The recent time of soul-searching had no terrors for us. We saw our path with absolute clearness, we took it with absolute deliberateness. "We could no other." We called upon the names of the great confessors of our national faith, and all was well with us. Whatever soul-searchings there may be among Irish political parties now or hereafter, we go on in the calm certitude of having done the clear, clean, sheer thing. We have the strength and the peace of mind of those who never compromise. We want recruits because we believe that events are about to place the destinies of Ireland definitely in our hands, and because we want as much help as possible to enable us to bear the burden. The political leadership of Ireland is passing to us-not, perhaps to us as individuals, for none of us are ambitious, for leadership and few of us fit for leadership; but to our party, to men of our way of thinking, that is; to the party and to the men that stand by Ireland only, to the party and to the men that stand by the nation, to the party and to the men of one allegiance. We want recruits because we have work for them to do. We do not propose to keep our men idle. We propose to give them work-hard work, plenty of work. We would band together all men and give them men's work. We want recruits because we are able to train them. The great majority of our officers are now fully competent to undertake service under the conditions imposed by the natural and military facts of the map of Ireland. Those officers who are not so competent will be made competent in our training camps during the next few months. We want recruits because we are able to have arm them. We want recruits because we are able to arm them. In a rough way of speaking, we have succeeded already in placing a gun and ammunition therefor in the hands of every Irish Volunteer that has undertaken to endeavour to pay for them. We are in a position to do as much for every man that joins us. We may not always have the popular pattern of gun, but we undertake to produce a gun of some sorts for every genuine Irish Volunteer: with some ammunition to boot. Finally: We want recruits because we are absolutely determined to take action the moment action becomes a duty. If a moment comes-as a moment seemed on the point of coming at least twice during the past eighteen months- when the Irish Volunteers will be justified to their consciences in taking definite military action, such action will be taken. We do not anticipate such a moment in the very near future; but we live at a time when it may come swiftly and terribly. What if Con-scription be forced upon Ireland? What if a Unionist or a Coalition British Ministry repudiate the Home Rule Act? What if it be determined to dismember Ireland? What if it be attempted to disarm Ireland? The future is big with those and other possibilities. AND THESE ARE AMONG THE REASONS WHY WE WANT RECRUITS: COLLECTED WORKS OF PADRAIC PEARSE FOR SALE IN MICHAEL COLLINS CAFE AND GIFT SHOP
GHOSTS by P. H. PEARSE
There has been nothing more terrible in Irish History than the failure of the last generation. Other generations have failed in Ireland, but they have failed nobly: or, failing ignobly, some man among them has redeemed them from infamy by the splendour of his protest. But the failure of the last generation has been mean and shameful, and no man has arisen from it to say or do a splendid thing in virtue of which it shall be forgiven. The whole episode id squalid. It will remain the one sickening chapter in a short story which, gallant or sorrowful , has everywhere else some exaltation of pride. "Is mairg do ghni go holc agus bhios bocht ina dhiaidh," says the Irish proverb. "Woe to him that doeth evil and is poor after it." The men who have led Ireland for twenty-five years have done evil, and they are bankrupt. They are bankrupt in policy, bankrupt in credit, bankrupt now even in words. They have nothing to propose to Ireland, no way of wisdom, no counsel of courage. When they speak they speak only untruth and blasphemy. Their utterances are no longer the utterances of men. They are the mumblings and the gibberings of lost souls. One finds oneself wondering what sin these men have been guilty of that so great a shame should come upon them. Is it that they are punished with loss of manhood because in their youth they committed a crime against manhood? Does the ghost of Parnell hunt them to their damnation. Even had the men themselves been less base, their failure would have been inevitable. When one thinks over the matter for a little, one sees that they have built upon an untruth. They have conceived of nationality as a material thing, whereas it is a spiritual thing. They have made the same mistake that a man would make if he were to forget that he has an immortal soul. They have not recognised in their people the image and likeness to God. Hence, the nation to them is not all holy, a thing inviolate and inviolable, a thing that a man dare not sell or dishonour on pain of eternal perdition. They have thought of nationality as a thing to be negotiated about as men negotiate about a tariff or about a trade route, rather than as an immediate jewel to be preserved at all peril, a thing so sacred that it may not be brought into the market places at all or spoken of where men traffic. He who builds on lies rears only lies. The untruth that nationality is corporeal, a thing defined by statutes and guaranteed by mutual interests, is at the base of untruth that freedom, which is the condition of a hale nationality, is a status to be conceded rather than a glory to be achieved: and of the other untruth that it can ever be lawful in the interest of empire, in the interest wealth, in the interest of quiet living, to forego the right to freedom. The contrary is the truth. Freedom, being a spiritual necessity, transcends all corporeal necessities, and when freedom is being considered interests should not be spoken of. Or, if the terms of the counting house be the ones that are best understood, let us put it that it is the highest interest of a nation to be free. Like a divine religion, national freedom bears the marks of unity, of sanctity, of catholicity, of apostolic succession. Of unity, for it contemplates the nation as one; of sanctity, for it is holy in itself and in those who serve it, of catholicity, for it embraces all the men and women of the nation; of apostolic succession, for it, or the aspiration after it, passes down from generation to generation from the nation's fathers. A nation's fundamental idea of freedom is not affected by the accidents of time and circumstance. It does not vary with the centuries,or with the comings and goings of men or of empires. The substance of truth does not change, nor does the substance of freedom. Yesterday's definition of both the one and the other is to-day's definition and will be tomorrow's. As the body of truth which a true church teaches can neither be increased nor diminished though truth's implicit in the first definition may be made explicit in later definitions so a true definition of freedom remains constant: it cannot be added to or subtracted from or varied in its essentials, though things implicit in it its essentials, though things implicit in it may be made by a later definition.
Extracts from PADRAIC H. PEARSE'S BOOK for sale in Cafe
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PLAYS, STORIES, POEMS OF PADRAIC PEARSE:
This volume of the collected works of Padraic Pearse contains his English Versions of Plays and Poems, many of which have not been previously published. The Author's final copies of the manuscript of the Singer and the Master were burnt in the publisher's office at Easter, 1916, but, fortunately, other copies of these manuscripts, apparently containing the Author's corrections, were forthcoming.
RENUNCIATION: Naked I see thee O beauty of beauty And I blinded my eyes For fear I should fail.
I heard thy music O melody of melody And I closed my eyes For fear I should falter.
I tasted thy mouth O sweetness of sweetness And I hardened my heart For fear of my slaying.
I blinded my eyes And I closed my ears I hardened my heart And I smothered my desire.
I turned my back On the vision I had shaped And to this road before me I turned my face.
I have turned my face To this road before me To the deed that I see And the death I shall die.
THE MOTHER: I do not grudge them: Lord, I do not grudge My two strong sons that I have seen go out To break their strength and die, they and a few, In bloody protest for a glorious thing They shall be spoken of among their people The generation shall remember them And call them blessed; But I will speak their names to my own heart In the long nights; The little names that were familiar once Round my dead hearth. Lord, thou art hard on mothers: We suffer in their coming and their going; And though I grudge them not, I weary, weary Of the long sorrow and yet I have my joy; My sons were faithful, and they fought.