Easter Monday marks the 90th Anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland. A path that led to freedom, for the first time in over 800 years, for the people of the twenty-six counties of the Republic of Ireland, finalized in 1922. Contention still exists, in the desire to reunite the other six counties, that comprise Northern Ireland, with her southern brethren in the Republic. A few lines, from this period are often quoted. Here they are, in their broader text.
I have but a few words to say. I am going to my cold silent grave, my lamp of life is nearly extinguished, my race is run, the grave opens to receive me, and I sink into its bosom. I have but one request to ask at my departure from this world; it is, the charity of its silence. Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them; let not prejudice nor ignorance asperse them. Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace; and my tomb remained uninscribed, and my memory in oblivion, until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then and not until the, let my epitaph be written. – Robert Emmett, September 19th, 1803. 23 years old, after being sentenced to death for leading another Irish rising for freedom, unusual in that it was so soon after the pivotal Rising of 98 (1798)
I write it out in verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Where ever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
W.B. Yeats – 1916
I assume that I am speaking to Englishmen who value their own freedom and who profess to be fighting for freedom of Belgium and Serbia. Believe that we too love freedom and desire it. To us it is more desirable than anything in the world. If you strike us down now we shall rise again and renew the fight. You cannot conquer Ireland; you cannot extinguish the Irish passion for freedom; if our deed has not been sufficient to win freedom then our children will win it by a better deed.
- Padraic Pearse – May 2, 1916. Leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, speaking at the court martial sentencing him to death.