BONNY BUNCH OF ROSES

(The bunch of roses is said to represent England, Scotland and Ireland. The Air is a variant of "An Beinsín Luachra".)
***


By the margin of the ocean, one pleasant evening in the month of June,
When all those feathered songsters their liquid notes did sweetly tune,
‘Twas there I spied a female, and on her features the signs of woe,
Conversing with young Bonaparte, concerning the Bonny Bunch of Roses, O.

Then up speaks young Napoleon, and takes his mother by the hand,
Saying: "Mother dear, be patient until I’m able to take command;
And I’ll raise a mighty army, and through tremendous dangers go,
And I never will return again till I’ve conquered the Bonny Bunch of Roses, O.

"When first you saw great Bonaparte, you fell upon your bended knee,
And you asked your father’s life of him, he granted it right manfully,
And ‘twas then he took his army, and o’er the frozen Alps did go,
And he said: ‘I’ll conquer Moscow, and return for the Bonny Bunch of Roses, O.’

"He took three hundred thousand men, and kings likewise to bear his throne,
He was so well provided for, that he could sweep the world alone;
But when he came to Moscow, he was overpowered by the sleet and snow,
With Moscow all a-blazing, and he lost the Bonny Bunch of Roses, O."

"Now son, be not too venturesome, for in England are the hearts of oak,
And England, Ireland, Scotland, their unity shall ne’er be broke;
Remember your brave father, in Saint Helena he lies low,
And if you follow after, beware of the Bonny Bunch of Roses, O."

"O mother, adieu for ever, for now I lie on my dying bed,
If I lived I’d have been clever, but now I droop my youthful head;
But when our bones lie mouldering and weeping willows o’er us grow,
The deeds of young Napoleon shall blanch the Bonny Bunch of Roses, O."

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MAIDIN LUAIN CHINCÍSE

Amhrán maorga uasal ar an Éirí Amach i Loch Garman

Maidin Luain Chincíse labhair an síofra sa ngleann,
Do bhailíodar na cága chun ábhacht a dhéanamh ann;
Do chruinníomar ‘na dtimpeall is do lasamar ár dtinte,
Agus thógamar ceo draíochta go haoibhinn os a gceann.

Is mó baile margaidh agus cathair aoibhinn cheoil
Agus cúirt ages na Sasanaigh chun seasamh ann ‘nár gcomhair;
Beir scéala cruinn abhaile uainn Dé Domhnaigh go dtí an Aifreann
Gur chun sléibhe a cuireadh chun reatha sinn ‘nár seasamh insa ngleo.

Dá bhfeicfeása an buachaill is an cailín ceannbhuí cas,
Do bhíodh ag imeacht suas ar thuairisc na bhfear;
Beir scéala cruinn dóibh uaimse go bhfuail Captaen Lambert fuar lag
Ar thaobh an tsléibhe go huaigneach gan tuama air ná leac.

Cá bhfuilid na Muimhnigh nó an fíor go mairid beo,
Ná cruinníd siad ‘nár dtimpeall is cabhrú linn sa ngleo?
Mar is deacair poirt do stríocadh ná clanna búir do dhíbirt
Ón ár mbailte dúchais dílis bhí ag ár sinsir riamh romhainn.

Do tháinig aniar ó Chonnacht chughainn céad is míle laoch,
An oiread céanna ó Ulaidh chughainn i bhfoirm cheart ‘s i bhfaobhar,
Suaimhneas lae níor tugadh dóibh gur bhuaileamar bualadh is fiche orthu,
‘Sé mo léan mar sileadh fuil is coirp ár bhfear i ndeireadh lae.

Beir scéala suas chun Mumhan uainn, a rún ghil ‘s a stór,
Agus inis an scéal faoi chumha dóibh go bhfuail an sciúirse ‘nár gcomhair;
Mar is mó leanbh fireann fionn geal agus ainnir mhilis mhúinte
Agus ógfhear cliste lúfar san úir uainn ag feo.

Mo léan ar an Mhumhain nár éirigh nuair d’adhnamar an gleo;
Faoi airm ghreanta ghreadnmhar i bhfaghairt acu ‘nár gcomhair,
D’fhágadar go tréith sinn is neart ár namhad ‘nár dtimpeall,
Ach grá mo chroí na Laighnigh b’iad d’adhain an tine leo.

Mícheál Óg Ó Longáin



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THE HEROINE OF ROSS

An incident of the insurrection of 1798. The heroine was a girl named Molly Doyle, of Castleboro. She persuaded her father to return home because of his age and she took his place in the Insurgent ranks
***


Up from fitful sleep we wakened at the first kiss of the day;
There was silence by our watchfires, for we knew the task that lay
To be wrought to joy or ruin ere the stairs should look again
On the places of our childhood – hill and river, rath and glen.

We were thinking of the dear ones that we left to face the foe,
And we prayed for all the brave ones that were lying cold and low,
And we looked upon the meadows staring blank against the sun,
Then we thought upon the future and the work that must be done.

Fear! we knew not, for Vengeance burned fierce in every heart;
Doubt! why doubt, when we but hungered each to do a true man’s part?
"On to Ross!" our pulses quickened as the word from man to man
Passed along, and brave John Kelly forward stepped to lead the van.

Through the misty summer morn by the hedgerows bright we sped,
While the lark with joyous music filled the spreading dome o’erhead.
And the sun rode up the circle, and the earth began to smile,
But our hearts knew nought of pleasure, they were cold as ice the while.

Silent all, with stony gaze, and lips as tightly locked as death,
On we went by flowering thorns through the balmy summer’s breath,
On, till Ross was close upon us, then a shout resounding rose,
And like ocean’s waves in winter in we leaped upon our foes!

For a brief, brief spell they quavered, then their muskets rang reply,
And our boys in hundreds falling looked their last upon the sky.
But, the empty places filling, still we rallied to the fray,
Till the misty summer morning wore into the dusty day.

Then a figure rose above us, ‘twas a girl’s fragile frame,
And among the fallen soldiers there she walked with eyes aflame,
And her voice rang o’er the clamour like a trumpet o’er the sea:
"Who so dares to die for Ireland, let him come and follow me."

Then against the line of soldiers with a gleaming scythe on high,
Lo! she strode, and though their bullets whistled round, they passed her by,
And a thousand bosoms throbbing, one wild surging shout we gave,
And we swept them from our pathway like the sand before the wave.

William Rooney



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RODY MacCORLEY

Ho! see the fleetfoot hosts of men
Who speed with faces wan,
From farmstead and from fisher’s cot
Upon the banks of the Bann.
They come with vengeance in their eyes.
Too late, too late are they.
For Rody MacCorley goes to die
On the Bridge of Toome today.

Oh Ireland, Mother Ireland,
You love them still the best;
The fearless brave who fighting fall,
Upon your hapless breast;
But never a one of all your dead
More bravely fell in fray,
Than he who marches to his fate
On the Bridge of Toome today.

Up the narrow street he stepped
Smiling and proud and young;
About the hemp-rope on his neck
The golden ringlets clung.
There’s never a tear in the blue, blue eyes
Both glad and bright are they;
As Rody MacCorley goes to die
On the Bridge of Toome today.

Ah! when he last stepped up that street
His shining pike in hand,
Behind him marched in grim array
A stalwart earnest band!
For Antrim town! for Antrim town!
He led them to the fray –
And Rody MacCorley goes to die
On the Bridge of Toome today.

The grey coat and its sash of green
Were brave and stainless then;
A banner flashed beneath the sun
Over the marching men –
The coat hath many a rent this noon
The sash is torn away,
And Rody MacCorley goes to die
On the Bridge of Toome today.

Oh! how his pike flashed to the sun!
Then found a foeman’s heart!
Through furious fight, and heavy odds
He bore a true man’s part;
And many a red-coat bit the dust
Before his keen pike-play –
But Rody MacCorley goes to die
On the Bridge of Toome today.

Because he loved the Motherland,
Because he loved the Green,
He goes to meet the martyr’s fate
With proud and joyous mien,
True to the last, true to the last,
He treads the upward way –
Young Rody MacCorley goes to die
On the Bridge of Toome today.

Ethna Carbery

Ethna Carbery was the penname of Anna MacManus, née Johnston, who was born in Ballymena, County Antrim in 1866. She and Alice Milligan founded the paper called The Northern Patriot and afterwards another called The Shan Van Vocht. She was married to the Donegal writer and folkorist, Séumas MacManus, and died in 1902.



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THE WEST’S ASLEEP

When all beside a vigil keep,
The West’s asleep, the West’s asleep –
Alas! and well may Erin weep
When Connacht lies in slumber deep.
There lake and plain smile fair and free,
‘Mid rocks their guardian chivalry.
Sing, Oh! let man learn liberty
From crashing wind and lashing sea.

That chainless wave and lovely land
Freedom and nationhood demand;
Be sure the great God never planned
For slumb’ring slaves a home so grand.
And long a brave and haughty race
Honoured and sentinelled the place.
Sing, Oh! not even their sons’ disgrace
Can quite destroy their glory’s trace.

For often, in O’Connor’s van,
To triumph dashed each Connacht clan,
And fleet as deer the Normans ran
Thro’ Corrsliabh Pass and Ardrahan;
And later times saw deeds as brave,
And glory guards Clanricarde’s grave,
Sing, Oh! they died their land to save
At Aughrim’s slopes and Shannon’s wave.

And if, when all a vigil keep,
The West’s asleep! the West’s asleep!
Alas! and well may Erin weep
That Connacht lies in slumber deep.
But, hark! a voice like thunder spake,
The West’s awake! the West’s awake!
Sing, Oh! hurrah! let England quake,
We’ll watch till death for Erin’s sake!

Thomas Davis



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NA BUACHAILLÍ BÁNA

The Right Hon Denis Browne was High Sheriff of County Mayo in 1798. He was a brother of Lord Altamont and dealt savagely with those who had participated in the Rising or helped in any way. It was said that for months afterwards, he had a man hanged in Castlebar every day. Sometimes he presided personally at the executions.

Richard Jordan of Rooskey, who with Séamas Bán Ó Máille, led the capture of Claremorris, was informed on, but Denis Browne in a letter to Lord Hardwick said "it would be difficult to find an unprejudiced jury to try him." A courtmartial was arranged and Jordan sentenced to death. Browne arranged the execution for Claremorris, where the prisoner "committed the acts of treason of which he was convicted". He then added, in his letter to the Lord Lieutenant:

"I shall not fail to attend there and will further your Excellency’s intention of making the example as impressive as possible."

The Secret Service List shows that the informer who betrayed Richard Jordan was paid one hundred guineas.

It was estimated that Denis Browne had 200 men hanged, 200 transported and 100 more pressed into service in the British Army overseas or salt mines on the Continent.

Dúghlas de hÍde collected the song Na Buachaillí Bána in County Mayo in 1903 and published it as a song ascribed to Antaine Ó Reachtabhra. The song had never before been written down because it would have been too dangerous. (There is a record in a manuscript in the British Museum of a man being arrested in Oranmore for drinking the toast, "That the King’s skin may be converted into boats for Bonaparte", which wish was inserted in a song that was sung in ale-houses and whiskey-shops.)

Dúghlas de hÍde records that the tree used as a gallows in Castlebar was still standing in 1903, but by the time Richard Hayes was researching his Last Invasion of Ireland in the 1930s it had been uprooted by a storm.

Denis Browne was called "Donnacha an Rópa" by the people of County Mayo and their feelings about him were well expressed in the first stanza of Na Buachaillí Bána, excellently translated by de hÍde, who described it as "giota fíochmhar".

***


A Dhonncha Brúin ‘s deas do chraithfinn lámh leat
Agus ní le grá duit ach le fonn do ghabháil (góail)
Cheanglóinn suas thú le rópa cnáibe
Agus chuirfinn mo "Spír" i do bholg mór.
Mar is iomaí buachaill maith chuir tú thar sáile
Thiocfas anall fís is cúnamh leo
Faoi chultaibh dearga agus hataí lása
‘S beidh an droma Francach a’ seinm leo!

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THE WHITEBOYS

If I got your hand, it is I would take it
But not to shake it, O Denis Browne,
But to hang you high with a hempen cable
And your feet unable to find the ground.
For it’s many’s the boy who was strong and able
You sent in chains with your tyrant frown;
But they’ll come again, with the French flag waving
And the French drums raving to strike you down!

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TONE IS COMING BACK AGAIN

This song to a traditional air, has been popular in Ulster since days of the United Irishmen.
***


Cheer up, brave hearts, to-morrow’s dawn will see us march again
Beneath old Erin’s flag of green that ne’er has known a stain.
And ere our hands the sword shall yield or furled that banner be –
We swear to make our native land from the tyrant’s thraldom free!

For Tone is coming back again with legions o’er the wave,
The scions of Lord Clare’s Brigade, the dear old land to save,
For Tone is coming back again with legions o’er the wave
The dear old land, the loved old land, the brave old land to save!

Though crouching minions preach to us to be the Saxon’s slave,
We’ll teach them all; what pikes can do when hearts are true and brave.
Fling Freedom’s banner to the breeze, let it float o’er land and sea –
We swear to make our native land from the tyrant’s thraldom free!

For Tone is coming back again with legions o’er the wave,
The scions of Lord Clare’s Brigade, the dear old land to save,
For Tone is coming back again with legions o’er the wave
The dear old land, the loved old land, the brave old land to save!

Young Dwyer ‘mong the heath-clad hills of Wicklow leads his men;
And Russell’s voice stirs kindred hearts in many an Ulster glen;
Brave Father Murphy’s men march on from the Barrow to the sea –
We swear to make our native land from the tyrant’s thraldom free!

For Tone is coming back again with legions o’er the wave,
The scions of Lord Clare’s Brigade, the dear old land to save,
For Tone is coming back again with legions o’er the wave
The dear old land, the loved old land, the brave old land to save!

Too long we’ve borne with smouldering wrath the cursed alien laws,
That wreck our shrines and burn our homes and crush our country’s cause;
But now the day has come at last; Revenge our watchword be!
We swear to make our native land from the tyrant’s thraldom free!

For Tone is coming back again with legions o’er the wave,
The scions of Lord Clare’s Brigade, the dear old land to save,
For Tone is coming back again with legions o’er the wave
The dear old land, the loved old land, the brave old land to save!

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TOM GILHEANEY

It happened once upon a time
As sages tell in phrase sublime;
That Tom Gilheaney stout and straight
Prepared his pike in ninety-eight,
And from Drumkeeran did advance
To join the gallant sons of France.

Thus hastily equipped for war
He journeyed on to Castlebar,
Where there he showed good Irish play
Before the Saxons ran away.
It made him joyful to behold
The flutter of the green and gold
And oftentimes that day he said,
"Thank God the green waves o’er the red."

Next morning for Collooney then
He marched with the Killala men,
Where victory again did smile
Upon the banners of our Isle.
The rank and file, with lances long,
Unfailing nerves and sinews strong,
The vengeful mandate did obey,
Which made them victors of the day.

To see how foemen reeled and ran
Was balsam for an Irishman.
Besides the band conjointly played
In thundering strains, "The White Cockade",
And brilliant was Gilheaney’s luck,
‘Til he arrived at Ballinamuck.

(There are 27 more stanzas to this song.)

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