Oh, Breathe Not His Name
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

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Thomas Moore (1779-1852) wrote the words to this tune. The subject of the tune is the Irish patriot, Robert Emmet.

Robert Emmet (1778-1803) helped plan and lead an uprising in Dublin in 1803. Forced to act early because of an explosion at one of the arms depots, the uprising disintegrated into chaos. Wearing a green and white uniform Emmet and a small troop marched on Dublin Castle, killing the Lord Chief Justice on the way. He fled, hoping to escape to America with his fiance Sarah Curran. He was captured and hung.

At his trial Emmet requested that no epitaph be written for him until Ireland took her place among the nations of the earth.

Another song by Thomas Moore's She Is Far From the Land was also inspired by Emmet, as was the tune Nell Flaherty's Drake.

For a complete list of tunes by Thomas Moore at this site see the Contemplator's Short Biography of Thomas Moore.

Oh, breathe not his name,
Let it sleep in the shade,
Where cold and unhonored,
His relics are laid;
Sad, silent and dark
Be the tears that we shed,
As night dew that weeps
On the grave o'er his head.

But the night dew that falls,
Tho' in silence it weeps,
Shall brighten with vendure
The grave where he sleeps;
And the tears that we shed,
Tho' in secret it rolls,
Shall long keep his memory
Green in our souls.
Related Links
From Music for the Nation, American Sheet Music (1870-1885)
(Library of Congress)