We deny and have always denied the alleged massacre of 1641. But that the people rose under their Chiefs, seized the English towns and expelled the English settlers, and in doing so committed many excesses is undeniable—as is equally the desperate provocation. The Ballad here printed is not meant as an apology for these excesses, which we condemn and lament, but as a true representation of the feelings of the insurgents in the first madness of success.
Joy! joy! the day is come at last, the day of hope and pride,
And see! our crackling bonfires light old Bann’s rejoicing tide,
And gladsome bell, and bugle-horn from Newry’s captured Towers,
Hark! how they tell the Saxon swine, this land is ours, is ours!
Glory to God! my eyes have seen the ransomed fields of Down,
My ears have drunk the joyful news, “Stout Phelim hath his own,”
Oh! may they see and hear no more, oh! may they rot to clay,
When they shall fail to triumph in the conquest of to-day
Now, now we’ll teach the shameless Scot to purge his thievish maw,
Now, now the Court may fall to pray, for Justice is the Law,
Now, shall the Undertaker square for once his loose accounts,
We’ll strike brave boys, a fair result, from all his false amounts.
Come, trample down their robber rule, and smite its venal spawn,
Their foreign laws, their foreign church, their ermine and their lawn;
And all the specious fry of fraud that robbed us of our own,
And plant our ancient laws again, beneath our lineal throne.
Our standard flies from fifty towers, it leads ten thousand men,
Down have we pluck’d the pirate Red never to rise again;
The Green alone shall stream above our native field and flood—
The spotless Green, save where its folds are gemmed with Saxon blood.
Pity!1 no, no, you dare not Priest—not you our Father dare,
Preach to us now that Godless creed—the murderer’s blood to spare;
To spare his blood, while tombless still our slaughtered kin implore,
“Graves and revenge” from Gobbin Cliffs and Carrick’s bloody shore!
Pity! well if you needs must whine, let pity have its way,
Pity for all our comrades true, far from our side to-day;
The prison-bound who rot in chains, the faithful dead who poured.
Their blood ‘neath Strafford’s lawless axe or Parson’s ruffian sword.
They smote them with the swearer’s oath, and with the murderer’s knife,
We in the open field will fight, fairly for land and life,
But by the Dead and all their wrongs, and by our hopes today,
One of us twain shall fight their last or be it we or they—
They banned our faith, they banned our lives, they trod us into earth,
And whilst we bore with passive hearts, our patience was their mirth;
Even this great flame that wraps them now, not we but they have bred,
This war is their own work, and now, their work be on their head.
Nay, Father, tell us not of help from Leinster’s Norman Peers.
If we shall shape our holy cause to match their selfish fears,
Helpless and hopeless be the cause that brooks a vain delay,
Our ship is launched, our flag’s afloat, whether they come or stay.
If silken Howth, and savage Slane should kiss their tyrant’s rod,
And pale Dunsany still prefer his Monarch to his God,
Think you we lack their fathers’ sons the Marchmen of the Pale,
While Irish hearts and Irish hands have Spanish blades and mail?
Down from the sacred hills whereon a Saint2 communed with God,
Up from the vale where Bagnall’s blood manured the reeking sod,
Out from the stately wood of Truigh, M’Kenna’s plundered home,
Like Larne’s waves, as fierce and fast, our brother clansmen come.
Then, let them stay to bow and fawn, or fight with cunning words;
I fear me more their courtly arts than England’s hireling swords,
Nathless their creed they hate us still, as the despoiler hates,
Would God they loved their prey no more, our kinsman’s lost estates!
Our rude array’s a jagged rock to smash the spoiler’s power,
Or need we aid. His aid we have who doomed this gracious hour.
Of yore He led our Hebrew sires to peace through strife and pain,
And us he leads the self-same path, the self-same goal to gain.
Then, brethren, on!—O’Nial’s shade would frown to see you pause—
Our banished Hugh, our martyred Hugh, is watching o’er your cause—
His generous error lost the land—he deem’d the Norman true,
Oh forward! friends, it must not lose the land again in you!
1 Leland the Protestant Historian states that the Catholic Priests “laboured zealously to moderate the excesses of war;” and frequently protected the English by concealing them in their places of worship, and even under their altars.”
2 St. Patrick, whose favourite retreat was Lecale, in the County Down.