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'Cushla Gal Machree,' from the pen of brave-hearted Michael Doheny, the ballads of hopeful, earnest-souled Thomas Davis,--ballads that thrill you like an inspiration-the weird but melodious productions of the muse of Clarence Mangan, and all the varied and magnificent treasure of Young Ireland.' 'Forty-eight saw the commencement of a new era in Irish ballad poetry.
The tocsin was sounded by Mangan in 'The Nation's First Number.' A wave of the magic wand of Thomas Davis, and the accumulated poetical absurdities, in the shape of the accepted street ballad, were swept away in the flood which his great and impassioned genius had conjured. The rustic song maker found his occupation gone; for who of the new generation-all of whom had or were receiving more or less of an education-would buy or read such an effusion, for instance, as 'Mary Neal'?
'Mary Neal' went out of print." The freshened ideas of "Young Ireland" extinguished it and all of its class. Who would buy such when a song like this could be purchased ?
"Come in the evening, or come in the morning,
Come when you 're looked for, or come without warning;
'The Blackbird,' the 'Shan Van Vocht,' and such other of the genus political, were literally snuffed out by the grand march forward then inaugurated. The hopeful, melodious, glowing, and martial verse of Gavan Duffy, D'Arcy Magee, Dalton Williams, Lady Wilde, and all that brilliant phalanx who gave to the period such a luster, contributed to this desired event.
The old street ballads are gone; with many of them were associated pleasant memories. May the pleasure remain, but what of them was rancorous, uncharitable, bigoted, or envenomed, pass away, and be buried in the same oblivious grave.
"Give me the making of a people's ballads, and I care not who make their laws," was the saying of an ancient philosopher, and the wisdom of old Fletcher of Saltoun, author of the saying, was never better exemplified than in the case of Ireland. Her nationality has been preserved by the aid of her ballads; seeing what they have accomplished, may we not safely predict that the potency of their magic will yet help to consummate what for centuries has been her fixed and grand idea-Ireland a Nation-the arbiter of her own destinies ?
July the First, of a morning clear one thousand six hundred and ninety,
King William did his men prepare of thousands he had thirty
1 Sir Charles Gavan Duffy says these fragments of the original Boyne Water are far more racy and spirited than the song by Colonel Blacker which has superseded them.
To fight King James and all his foes, encamped near the Boyne Water
He little feared, though two to one, their multitudes to scatter.
King William called his officers, saying: "Gentlemen, mind your station,
And let your valor here be shown before this Irish nation; My brazen walls let no man break, and your subtle foes you'll scatter,
Be sure you show them good English play as you go over the water."
Both foot and horse they marched on, intending them to batter, But the brave Duke Schomberg he was shot as he crossed over the water.
When that King William did observe the brave Duke Schomberg falling,
He reined his horse with a heavy heart, on the Enniskilleners calling:
"What will you do for me, brave boys-see yonder men retreating?
Our enemies encouraged are, and English drums are beating." He says, "My boys, feel no dismay at the losing of one commander,
For God shall be our king this day, and I'll be general under."
Within four yards of our fore-front, before a shot was fired,
Others turned up their forked ends, which we call coup de ladle.
Prince Eugene's regiment was the next, on our right hand advanced,
Into a field of standing wheat, where Irish horses prancedBut the brandy ran so in their heads, their senses all did scatter,
They little thought to leave their bones that day at the Boyne Water.
Both men and horse lay on the ground, and many there lay bleeding,
I saw no sickles there that day-but, sure, there was sharp shearing.
Now, praise God, all true Protestants, and heaven's and earth's Creator,
For the deliverance that He sent our enemies to scatter.
So praise God, all true Protestants, and I will say no further, But had the Papists gained the day, there would have been open murder.
Although King James and many more were ne'er that way inclined,
It was not in their power to stop what the rabble they designed.
Brian O'Linn was a gentleman born,
His hair it was long and his beard unshorn,
Brian O'Linn was hard up for a coat,
They'll answer for pistols," says Brian O'Linn!
Brian O'Linn had no breeches to wear,
He got him a sheepskin to make him a pair,
With the fleshy side out and the woolly side in
They are pleasant and cool," says Brian O'Linn!
Brian O'Linn had no hat to his head,
He stuck on a pot that was under the shed,
Brian O'Linn had no shirt to his back,
He went to a neighbor and borrowed a sack,
Brian O'Linn had no shoes at all,
He bought an old pair at a cobbler's stall,
1 This version is made up from several in the possession of Mr. P. J. McCall, of Dublin. The last verse figures in most collections of 'The Rhymes and Jingles of Mother Goose.'