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Poems and  Lyrics of age old  Ulster lore::




0' listen a while my countrymen and hear my latest news

Although my song is sorrowful I hope you'll me excuse

I left my peaceful residence a foreign land to see 

I said goodbye to Ballylisk likewise to Tandragee.

Brave stalwart men around me stood, 

Each comrade kind and true, 

And as I clasped each well known hand, to bid my last adieu, 

I says, my fellow countrymen I hope you'll soon be free 

And raise the Orange Flag proudly o'er the Hills of Tandragee.


No more among the Sycamore I'll hear the blackbird sing 

No more to me the brown Cuckoo will welcome back the Spring 

No more I'll see your fertile fields and weeping willow tree

Nor raise the Orange Flag proudly o'er the Hills of Tandragee.

God bless you dear old County Armagh my own dear native land 

In dreams I often see your hills and lovely orchards grand 

And though three thousand miles do lie between yon hills and me, 

You'll raise the Orange Flag proudly o'er the Hills of Tandragee.

May peace and plenty reign supreme upon Lough Erne's shore

May discord live forever in Ulster's homes no more 

And may the time soon come around when I return to thee 

To raise the Orange Flag proudly o'er the Hills of Tandragee.




'While the Orange Lilies Grow'

0 Thou, who nerved our fathers in days of old. 

Grant we, their children, in heart may not grow cold 

To fight with courage in this northern land 

For what they fought, our own dear native land. 

Shall we yield the walls of Derry or Enniskillen's plain, 

Where the ashes of our fathers in peaceful sleep remain?

Loud rings the voice of Ulster as she answers proudly: No; 

What our fathers won we'll hold, while the Orange Lilies grow!

That their ideals, for which they bravely drew the sword,

May still be ours to keep, we will with courage guard; 

For we've done all that men can do to placate our ancient foe. 

With every' claim we render their demands the greater grow. 

We have our last concession given, the last inch which we will yield 

Ere we spring to arms to defend our cause; may Heaven be our shield. 

For we've decided, come what may, through happiness or woe, 

What our fathers won we'll hold, while the Orange Lilies grow.

How my heart does thrill with joy, ever since I first have seen 

All the fertile plains of Ulster, her hills and valleys green. 

And what rapture fills my soul when praises meet are paid 

To the manhood of her sons and the beauty of her maids.

0, proud I am of this fair land, the land where I was born; 

Where liberty is held most dear, and deceit is held in scorn. 

Still a greater pride, a greater joy is mine, because I know 

What our fathers won we'll hold, while the Orange Lilies grow.




The Boyne Water 

July the first, in Oldbridge town, 

There was a grievious battle,

Where many a man lay on the ground 

By the cannons that did rattle; 

King James he pitched his tents between

The lines, for to retire; 

But King William threw his bomb balls in 

And set them all on fire. 

Thereat enraged, they vowed revenge 

Upon King William's forces; 

And often cried vehemently, 

That they would stop their courses. 

A bullet from the Irish came, 

Which grazed King William's arm; 

They thought his Majesty was slain - 

Yet it did him little harm. 

Duke Schomberg then in friendly care, 

His King would often caution, 

To shun the spot where bullets hot, 

Retain their rapid motion; 

But William said: "He don't deserve 

The name of Faith's Defender, 

That would not venture life and limb, 

To make a foe surrender. " 

When we the Boyne began to cross, 

The enemy descended; 

But few of our brave men were lost, 

So stoutly we defended; 

The horse were the first that marched o'er 

The foot soon followed after; 

But brave Duke Schomberg was no more, 

By venturing over the water. 

When valiant Schomberg he was slain, 

King William then accosted 

His warlike men for to march on, 

And he would be the foremost; 

"Brave boys, " he said, "be not dismayed, 

For the losing of one commander, 

For God will be our King this day, 

And I'll be the general under." 

Then stoutly we the Boyne did cross, 

To give our enemies battle; 

Our cannon, to our foes' great cost, 

Like thunder-claps did rattle: 

In majestic mien our Prince rode o'er, 

His men soon followed after, 

Then blows and shouts put foes to rout 

The day we crossed the water. 

Then said King William to his men, 

After the French departed.

"I'm glad, indeed, that none of ye

Seemed to be fainthearted; 

So sheath your swords and rest a while, 

In time we'll follow after."

These words he uttered with a smile 

The day he crossed the water. 

The cunning French near to Duleek, 

Had taken up their quarters, 

And fenced themselves on every side, 

Awaiting for new orders; 

But in the dead time of the night, 

They set the fields on fire; 

And long before the morning light 

To Dublin did retire. 

The Protestants of Drogheda 

Have reason to be thankful, 

That they were not to bondage brought,

They being but a handful: 

First to the Tholsel they were brought, 

And tried at the Millmount after; 

But brave King William set them free, 

By venturing over the water. 

Come, let us all with heart and voice 

Applaud our lives' defender; 

Who at the Boyne his valour show'd, 

And made his foes surrender.

To God above the praise we'll give, 

Both now and everafter; 

And bless the glorious mem'ry 

Of William that crossed the water. 





In Banbridge Town in the County Down

One morning last July, 

From a boreen green came a sweet colleen, 

And she smiled as she passed me by.

She looked so sweet from her two bare feet 

To the sheen of her nut brown hair.

Such a coaxing elf, sure I shook myself 

For to see I was really there.


From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay 

and From Galway to Dublin Town,

No maid I've seen like the brown colleen 

That I met in the County Down 

As she onward sped, sure I scratched my head 

And I looked with a feelin'rare 

And I say's, say's I, to a passer-by 

Whose the maid with the nut brown hair? 

He smiled at me and he says's, say's he, 

That's the gem of Ireland's crown 

It's Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann 

She's the star of the County Down. 

Repeat Chorus:

At the Harvest Fair she'll be surely there 

And I'll dress in my Sunday clothes 

With my shoes shone bright and my hat cocked right 

For a smile from my nut brown rose 

No pipe I'll smoke, no horse I'll yoke 

Till my plough turns rust coloured brown 

Till a smiling bride, by my own fireside

Sits the star of the County Down. 

Chorus / Repeat 






My match it was made here last night 

To a girl I neither love nor like 

But I'll take my own advice 

And leave her behind 

And go roaming the wild woods all over. 

I walked up and I walked down. 

I walked Cork, and Dublin, and Belfast towns, 

But no equal to my true love could I find. 

She's the wee lass that's left my heart broken. 

I got up two hours before day 

And I got a letter from my true love. 

I heard the blackbird and linnet say 

That my love had crossed the ocean. 

As She Moved Through the Fair 

My young love said to me, my mother won't mind 

And my father won't slight you for your lack of kind. 

She stepped away from me and this she did say, 

"It will not be long love, till our wedding day". 

She stepped away from me, and she moved through the fair, 

And fondly I watched her move here, and move there. 

And she went her way homeward  with one star awake, 

As the swan in the evening moved over the lake.

Last night she came to me, my young love came in. 

So softly she entered, that her feet made no din., 

And she came close beside me, and this she did say, 

"It will not be long love Till our wedding day". 




I'll Tell Me Ma

I'll tell me Ma when I go home, 

The boy's won't leave the girls alone. 

They'll pull my hair, they stole my comb, 

Well that's all right till I go home. 

Chorus: She is handsome. She is pretty. 

She is the bell of Belfast City. 

She is courtin' one, two, three. 

Please won't you tell me, who is she? 

Albert Mooney say's he loves her. 

All the boy's are fighting for her. 

They knock at the door and ring at the bell 

Sayin' "Oh my true love, are you well"? 

Out she comes as white as snow, 

Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes. 

Oul Jenny Murray say's she'll die 

If you don't get the fella 

With the roving eye. 

Let the wind and the rain and hail blow high 

And the snow come tumbling from the sky, 

She's as nice as apple pie.

She'll get her own lad by and by. 

When she gets a lad of her own, 

She won't tell her Ma when she gets home. 

Let them all come as they will 

For it's Albert Mooney she loves still. 

Repeat 1st Verse and Chorus 






I wished I had you in Carrickfergus, 

Only for nights in Ballygrand, 

I would swim over the deepest ocean, 

The deepest ocean to be by your side. 

But the sea is wide and I can't swim over

And neither have I wings to fly.

I wish I could find me a handy boatman 

To ferry me over to my love and die.

My childhood days bring back sad reflections

Of happy days so long ago.

My boyhood friends and my own relations.

Have all passed on like the melting snow.

So I'll spend my days in endless roving, 

Soft is the grass and my bed is free.

Oh to be home now in Carrickfergus,

On the long road down to the salty sea.

And in Kilkenny it is reported 

On marble stone there as black as ink, 

With gold and silver I did support her 

But I'll sing no more now till I get a drink.

I'm drunk today and I'm rarely sober,

A handsome rover from town to town.

Oh but I am sick now and my days are numbered

Come all ye young men and lay me down. 



Celtic Ray (Van Morrison) 

When Lewellen comes around 

And he goes through market town 

You'll be on the Celtic Ray, 

Are you ready? 

When McManus comes around 

On his early morning round 

Cryin' "Herrin' Olay"

You'll be on the Celtic Ray. 

1st Bridge: Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales, 

I can hear those ancient voices calling, 

"Children, children" 

When the coalbrick man comes round, 

On a cold November day 

You'll be on the Celtic Ray, 

Are you ready? 

2nd Bridge: Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall and Wales, 

I can hear those ancient voices calling, 

"Children, children, children". 

Listen Jimmy, I wanna go home. 

Listen Jimmy I wanna go home. 

I've been away from the Ray too long.

Repeat I've been away from the Ray too long.

In the early mornin', we'll go walkin' where 

The light comes shining through 

On the Celtic Ray,

Are you ready? 

My Lagan Love

Where Lagan streams sing lullabies 

There blows a lily fair. 

The twilight gleam is in her eye, 

The night is on her hair. 

And like a lovesick lenashee

She hath my heart in thrall. 

No life have I, no liberty, 

For love is Lord of all. 

And often when the beetles horn 

Has lulled the eve to sleep,

I'll steal into her sheiling lorn 

And through the doorway creep.

There on the cricket's singing stone,

She makes the bogwood fire 

And sings in sweet and undertone, 

The song of hearts desire.

Her welcome like her love for me 

Is from the heart within 

Her warm kiss is felicity,

That knows no taint or sin 

When she was only fairy small 

Her gentle mother died 

But true love keeps her memory warm, 

By Lagan's silver side





Do ye mind the old horse trams a long time ago, 

As they passed through the city at jog trot or slow? 

On the level they cantered, but the pace it did kill 

When they got to the bottom of Ligoniel Hill.

But the trace-boys were there with a heart and a hand, 

They let down the traces and buckled each band. 

The passengers sat on contented and still 

When they saw the bold trace-boys of Ligoniel hill.

Away we did canter as fast as the wind, 

And left the poor country carts plodding behind; 

And that song of the wind in my heart I hear still 

As when I was a trace-boy on Ligoniel Hill.

The youth of today hold their heads in the air 

And the young girls pass by with a golliwog stare,

Let them pity the crulge* on my back if they will 

But I once was a trace-boy on Ligoniel Hill.

My friends all departed, and work now so scarce, 

The only thing left is a ride in a hearse; 

For the sky is my roof and my bed a brick-kiln, 

Yet I once was a trace-boy on Ligoniel Hill.

From Songs of Belfast, Hammond 




Oh, list to the tale of a poor Irish harper

And scorn not the strings in his old withered hand 

But remember these fingers could once move more sharper 

To waken the echoes of his dear native land

How I long for to muse on the days of my boyhood 

Though four score and three years have fled by since then 

Still it gives sweet reflections, as every young joy should 

That merry-hearted boys make the best of old men

At wake or at fair I would twirl my shillelagh 

And trip through the jigs with my brogues bound with straw 

And all the pretty maidens from the village, the valley 

Loved the bold Phelim Brady, the bard of Armagh

And when sergeant Death's cold arms shall embrace me

Oh lull me to sleep with sweet Erin Go Bragh 

By the side of my Kathleen, my own love, then place me 

And forget Phelim Brady, the bard of Armagh





Come all ye maidens young and fair 

And you that are blooming in your prime 

Always beware and keep your garden fair

Let no man steal away your thyme

Chorus: For thyme it is a precious thing 

And thyme brings all things to my mind

Thyme with all its flavours, along with all its joys 

Thyme, brings all things to my mind

Once I and a bunch of thyme 

I thought it never would decay 

Then came a lusty sailor

Who chanced to pass my way 

And stole my bunch of thyme away 


The sailor gave to me a rose 

A rose that never would decay 

He gave it to me to keep me reminded 

Of when he stole my thyme away Chorus





The October winds lament around the castle of Dromore 

Yet peace is in her lofty halls, my loving treasure store 

Though autumn leaves may droop and die, a bud of spring are you

Sing hushabye loo, low loo, low lan Hushabye loo, low loo

Dread spirits all of black water, Clan Owen's wild banshee 

Bring no ill wind to him nor us, my helpless babe and me 

And Holy Mary pitying us to Heaven for grace doth sue

Take time to thrive, my ray of hope, in the garden of Dromore 

Take heed, young eaglet, till thy wings are feathered fit to soar

A little rest and then the world is full of work to do 

A little rest and then the world is full of work to do





It being in spring and the small birds they were singing 

Down by a shady arbour I carelessly did stray 

Where the thrushes they were warbling 

The violets they were charming 

For to view two lovers talking a while I did delay

She said, "My dear, don't leave me all for another season 

Though fortune may be pleasing 

I'll go along with you 

I'll give up friends and relations and quit this Irish nation 

And to the bonnie Bann banks forever I'll bid adieu"

He said, "My dear, don't grieve me or yet annoy my patience 

You know I love you dearly although I'm going away 

I'm going to some foreign nation to purchase a plantation 

For to comfort us hereafter all in America.

The landlords and their agents, their bailiffs and their beagles 

The land of our forefathers we're forced for to give o'er 

And we're sailing on the ocean for honor and promotion 

And we're parting with our sweethearts, it's them we do adore

If you were in your bed lying and thinking of dying

One sight of the bonny Bann banks, your sorrows you'd give o'er

And if your were but one hour all in her shady bower 

Pleasure would surround you, 

You'd think on death no more

So fare thee well, sweet Craigie Hill, where ofttimes I have roved in 

I never thought in my childhood days I'd part you any more 

But we're sailing on the ocean for honour and promotion 

And the bonny boat's sailing way down by Doorin shore






Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling 

From glen to glen, and down the mountain side 

The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying 

'tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.

But come you back when summer's in the meadow 

Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow 

'tis I'll be there in sunshine or in shadow 

Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying 

And I am dead, as dead I well may be 

You'll come and find the place where I am lying 

And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.

And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me 

And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be 

If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me 

I simply sleep in peace until you come to me.





A beautiful damsel of fame and renown 

A gentleman's daughter from Monaghan town 

As she went through the barracks this beautiful maid

Stood up in her coach to see dragoons on parade

Fare ye well, Enniskillen, I must leave you for a while 

And all thy fair waters and Erin's green isle 

And when the wars are over, I'll return in full bloom 

And they'll all welcome home their Enniskillen dragoons

They were all dressed up the like of gentleman's sons 

With their bright shining rapiers and carabine guns 

Their bayonets fornenst them, oh she saw them full soon

Just because that she loved an Enniskillen dragoon

She looked to the bright sons of Mars on the right 

Their armor outshining the stars of the night 

"Oh Willie, dearest Willie, you have 'listed full soon 

In the royal, loyal Enniskillen dragoons"

"Oh Flora, dearest Flora, your pardon I crave 

Both now and forever, you know I am your slave 

But your parents they have slighted me, morning, night, and noon

Just because that you loved your Enniskillen dragoon"

"Oh Willie, dearest Willie, head not what they say 

For children their parents must always obey 

And when you've left Ireland, they'll soon change their tune 

Sayin' 'The good Lord be wi' ye, Enniskillen dragoon'"






Our troop was made ready at the dawn of the day ,

From lovely Enniskillen they were marching us away. 

They put us then on board a ship to cross the raging main, 

To fight in bloody battle in the sunny land of Spain.

Chorus: Fare thee well Enniskillen, fare thee well for a while 

And all around the borders of Erin's green isle; 

And when the war is over we'll return in full bloom 

And you'll all welcome home the Enniskillen Dragoons. 

Oh Spain it is a gallant land where wine and ale flow free 

There's lots of lovely women there to dandle on your knee 

And often in a tavern there we'd make the rafters ring 

When every soldier in the house would raise his glass and sing


Well we fought for Ireland's glory there and many a man did fall 

From musket and from bayonet and from thundering cannon ball 

And many a foeman we laid low, amid the battle throng 

And as we prepared for action you would often hear this song


Well now the fighting's over and for home we have set sail,

Our flag above this lofty ship is fluttering in the gale: 

They've given us a pension boys of fourpence each a day

And when we reach Enniskillen never more.we'll have to say.





I am a wee laddie, hard, hard is my fate,

I have travelled this country both early and late

I courted a wee Iass, I did her adore; 

Though she has denied me, I'll try her once more.

At the late hour of midnight when souls are at rest, 

I think of my true love with hope in my breast, 

Saying, "The time it is coming and that you will see, 

When I'll be with my true love and she'll be with me."

"Oh, it's Johnnie, dear Johnnie, such things cannot be, 

As to be with your true love and you be with me, 

For to leave father, mother, their poor hearts would break, 

For to leave sisters, brothers, and follow a rake."

"Oh, it's Molly, dear Molly, you're not much to blame, 

When first I came courting, you scarce were eighteen, 

Your parents did slight me because I loved so, 

And for that very reason I love where you go.

"Oh, it's green grows the holly and so does the rue, 

And I'm very sorry at parting with you, 

But we'll have merry meetings, our joys to renew, 

And we'll leave o'er the false love and start on the new."

From Songs of the People, Henry 





Come all ye lads and lasses, and hear my mournful tale, 

Ye tender hearts that weep for love to sigh you will not fail,

'Tis all about a young man, and my song will tell you how 

He lately came a-courtin' of the Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe.

Said he, "My pretty young fair maid, could you and I agree, 

To join our hands in wedlock bands, and married we will be; 

We'll join our hands in wedlock bands, and you'll have my plighted vow, 

That I'll do my whole endeavours for the Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe.

Now this young and pretty fickle thing, she knew not what to say, 

Her eyes did shine like silver bright, and merrily did play; 

Says she, "Young man, your love subdue, I am not ready now, 

And I'll spend another season at the foot of the Sweet Brown Knowe."

"Oh," says he, "My pretty young fair maid, now why do you say so? 

Look down in yonder valley where my verdant crops do grow. 

Look down in yonder valley at my horses and my plough, 

All at their daily labour for the Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe."

"If they're at their daily labour, kind sir, it is not for me. 

I've heard of your behaviour, I have, kind sir, " said she;

"There is an inn where you drop in, I've heard the people say,

Where you rap and you call and you pay for all, 

and go home by the break of day."

"If I rap and I call and I pay for all, my money is all my own.

I've never spent ought of your fortune, for I hear that you've got none. 

You thought you had my poor heart broke in talkin' to you now, 

But I'll leave you where I found you, 

at the foot of the Sweet Brown Knowe."

Recorded by Burl Ives and several Clancys 



RODDY MCCORLEY (Words by Ethna Carberry;)

O see the fleet-foot host of men, who march with faces drawn, 

From farmstead and from fishers' cot, along the banks of Ban; 

They come with vengeance in their eyes. 

Too late! Too late are they, 

For young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

Up the narrow street he stepped, so smiling, proud and young. 

About the hemp-rope on his neck, the golden ringlets clung; 

There's ne'er a tear in his blue eyes, fearless and brave are they,

As young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

When last this narrow street he trod, his shining pike in hand

Behind him marched, in grim array, a earnest stalwart band. 

To Antrim town! To Antrim town, he led them to the fray, 

But young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

There's never a one of all your dead more bravely died in fray Than he who marches to his fate in Toomebridge town today; ray True to the last! True to the last, he treads the upwards way, And young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

Recorded by Kingston Trio, Clancys

music traditional. 






Dear thoughts are in my mind 

And my soul soars enchanted 

As I hear the sweet lark sing 

In the clear air of the day. 

For a tender beaming smile 

To my hope has been granted 

And tomorrow she shall hear 

All my fond heart would say. 

2. I shall tell her all my love 

And my soul's adoration 

And I think she will hear me 

And will not say me nay. 

It is this that gives my soul 

All its joyous elation 

As I hear the sweet lark sing 

In the clear air of the day.