An image instantly recognisable to everyone who grew up in Ireland. Patrick Pearse in this iconic photograph, the hero shot! He is our national messiah, the sacrificial lamb who was slain so our nation could be born. Born on this day in 1879. Teacher, Poet, Writer, Orator, Barrister and the Military Commander of the Easter Rising in 1916. Pearse was executed in May 1916.
His brother Willie was executed the very next day for his part in the Rebellion.
Patrick wrote the following lament through the eyes of his Mother. It is Ireland’s version of the Bixby letter from President Abraham Lincoln to the mother of five fallen union soldiers of the Civil War.
The Mother; by Patrick Henry Pearse
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 generations 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 tho’ I grudge them not, I weary, weary
of the long sorrow-And yet I have my joy:
My sons were faithful, and they fought.