Friday 15 May 2015

The Village Blacksmith

Under the spreading chestnut tree
The village smith stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long;
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from the threshing floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the clergy pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Toiling — rejoicing — sorrowing,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begun,
Each evening sees its close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus on the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday 6 May 2015

The Sinking of the Lusitania

The Lusitania was a 31,500 tons Cunard Atlantic liner brought under the control of the British Admiralty during World War 1. On May 7th,1915, it was bound for England from the USA, with 1,255 passengers and 651 crew on board, when it was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off the Old Head of Kinsale, Co.Cork, Ireland. Two torpedoes were fired, the ship sank within 20 minutes, and 1,198 people were drowned, including 124 Americans. The incident horrified most of the world, caused serious anti-German rioting in London, and may have helped eventually to bring the USA into the war. In Germany a commemorative medal was struck.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

News Extracts: 1916

Taken from the Evening Herald for the week of 26th April to 4th May 1916:
To avoid further slaughter 
We are asked officially to give the utmost publicity to the following document, signed by P.H. Pearse, who was described as being "The leader of the rebels" and bearing date 29th:- 
"In order to prevent further slaughter of unarmed people, and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers, now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, members of the Provisional Government present at headquarters have agreed to an unconditional surrender, and the commander of all units of the Republican Force will order their followers to lay down their arms". 
The Co-Inspector also published on April 30th an announcement that "James Connolly and other Sinn Fein leaders have unconditionally surrendered to the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief in Ireland". 
Germany's "assistance" 
In a communication posted at Ballymun R.I.C. station on the evening of 29th April intimating, on behalf of the Irish command, the progress of military operations in the city, it was stated that "Roger Casement has declared that Germany has sent all the assistance she is going to send which assistance is now at the bottom of the sea".

Saturday 2 May 2015

Hitler Killed in Action

Taken from the Irish Independent, May 2nd, 1945:
  • The story under this banner headline on the main news page: Adolf Hitler is dead, killed yesterday, according to German radio — at his command post in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. The announcement of the Fuehrer's death was made on radio at 9.25 (Irish time) last night and read as follows: "It is reported from the Fuehrer's HQ that Adolf Hitler has fallen this afternoon at his command post in the Chancellery, fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany. On April 30 the Fuehrer appointed Grand Admiral Doenitz as his successor. He has now taken over and says "the fight will go on".
  • Count Folke Benadotte, who returned to Stockholm from Copenhagen yesterday, said:"I have not seen Himmler during my last visit to Germany and Denmark. I have not forwarded any message from Himmler or other authorative German to the Allies".