The Exile of Erin,
on the
Plains of Emu

sung by Jim Low


Rev John McGarvie


Rev John McGarvie and The Exile of Erin

The Exile of Erin,
on the Plains of Emu



Oh farewell my country my kindred my lover
Each morning and evening is sacred to you
While I toil the long day without shelter or cover
And fell the tall gums the black-butted and blue
Full often I think of and talk of thee Erin
Thy heath-covered mountains are fresh in my view
Thy glens lakes and rivers Loch-Con and Kilkerran
While chained to the soil on the Plains of Emu

The ironbark wattle and gum-trees extending
Their shades under which rests the shy kangaroo
May be felled by the bless'd who have hope o'er them bending
To cheer their rude toil though far exiled from you
But, alas! without hope peace or honour to grace me
Each feeling was crushed in the bud as it grew
Whilst "never" is stamped on the chains that embrace me
And endless my thrall on the Plains of Emu

Hard hard was my fate far from thee to be driven
Unstained unconvicted as sure was my due
I loved to dispense of the freedom of Heaven
But force gained the day and I suffer for you
For this land never broke what by promise was plighted
Deep treason this tongue to my country ne'er knew
No base-earned coin in my coffer e'er lighted
Yet enchained I remain on the Plains of Emu

(the following verses are not included in the song)

Dear mother thy love from my bosom shall never
Depart but shall flourish untainted and true
Nor grieve that the base in their malice should ever
Upbraid thee and none to give malice her due
Spare spare her the tear and no charge lay upon her
And weep not my Norah her griefs to renew
But cherish her age till night closes on her
And think of the swain who still thinks but of you

But your names shall still live though like writing in water
When confined to the notes of the tame cockatoo
Each wattle-scrub echo repeats to the other
Your names and each breeze hears me sighing anew
For dumb be my tongue may my heart cease her motion
If the Isle I forget where my first breath I drew
Each affection is warmed with sincerest devotion
For the tie is unbroken on the Plains of Emu