Songs our Mothers sang

Banks of the Ohio
I asked my love to go with me,
Just to walk a little way.
And as we walked, 'twas then we talked
Of our approaching wedding day.

Then only say that you'll be mine
And in no other arms entwine.
Down beside, where the waters flow
Down by the banks of the Ohio.

I held a knife against her breast
As gently in my arms she pressed,
Crying "Willie, Oh Willie! Don't murder me
For I'm unprepared for eternity!"

I took her by her lily white hand
And led her down where the waters stand;
I picked her up and pitched her in
And watched her as she floated down.

I started home 'twixt twelve and one
Cryin' "Oh my God! What have I done?
I've murdered the only woman I love
Because she would not be my bride.


Banks of the Roses
On the banks of the roses, my love and I sat down
And I took out my violin to play my love a tune
In the middle of the tune, O she sighed and she said
O Johnny, lovely Johnny, Would you leave me

O when I was a young man, I heard my father say
That he'd rather see me dead and buried in the clay
Sooner than be married to any runaway
By the lovely sweet banks of the roses

O then I am no runaway and soon I'll let them know
I can take a good glass or leave it alone
And the man that doesn't like me, he can keep
his daughter home
And young Johnny will go roving with another

And if ever I get married, twill be in the month of May
When the leaves they are green and the meadows
they are gay
And I and my true love can sit and sport and play
On the lovely sweet banks of the roses


Bantry Girls Lament
Oh, who will plow the field, or who will sell the corn
Oh, who will wash the sheep, and have them nicely shorn
The stag that's in the haggard, unthrashed it may remain
Since Johnny went a-thrashing the dirty king of Spain

And the girls from the Boyne, in sorrow may retire
The piper and his bellows, may go home and blow the fire
For Johnny, lovely Johnny, is sailing o'er the main
Along with other patriots, to fight the King of Spain

The boys will sorely miss him when mun-a-hoor comes around
And grieve that their bold captain is nowhere to be found
The Peelers "roughed" and idle against their will and grain
For the valiant boy who gives them work now peels the King of Spain

If cruel fate will not permit our Johnny to return
His heavy loss, we Bantry girls will never cease to mourn
We'll resign ourselves to our sad lot and die in grief and pain
Since Johnny died for Ireland's pride in the foreign land of Spain


The Bard of Armagh
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


Bare Legged Joe
Bare legged Joe knows the curlew's cry
He runs with the hare when the summer's nigh
A tinker boy is fancy free
In the quiet green hills of Sligo

Don't wish someday that you could go
With a bag on your back and a pace that's slow
Leave your home in the city smoke
With the tinkers to go roving

That tinker boy never went to school
But you can tell he's no one's fool
He knows how to fish and to lay a snare
He can sing like a lark in the morning

Think I'll leave and go with him
Now that the summer is coming in
Travel the road with the tinker band
And a bare legged boy to lead me


Biddy Mulligan
You may travel from Clare to the county Kildare
From Francis Street back to the Coombe;
But where would you see a fine widow like me?
Biddy Mulligan the pride of the Coombe, me boys,
Biddy Mulligan the pride of the Coombe.

I'm a buxom fine widow, I live in a spot
In Dublin, they call it the Coombe.
Me shops and me stalls are laid out on the street,
And me palace consists of one room.
I sell apples and oranges, nuts and sweet peas,
Bananas and sugar stick sweet.
On a Saturday night I sell second-hand clothes,
From the floor of me stall in the street.

I sell fish on a Friday, spread out on a board;
The finest you'll find in the sea.
But the best is my herrings, fine Dublin Bay herrings,
There's herrings for dinner and tea.
I have a son, Mick, he's great on the flute,
He plays in the Longford Street band;
It would do your heart good for to see him march out
On a Sunday for Dollymount Strand.

In the park, on a Sunday, I make quite a dash;
The neighbors look on in surprise.
With my Aberdeen shawlie thrown over my head,
I dazzle the sight of their eyes.
At Patrick Street corner, for sixty-four years,
I've stood, and no one can deny
That while I stood there, nobody could dare
To say black was the white of my eye.


Black Cavalry
In the first of me downfall I put out the door,
And I straight made me way on for Carrick-on-Suir;
Going out by Rathronan 'twas late in the night
Going out the west gate for to view the gaslight

cho: Radley fal the diddle I
Radley fal the riddle airo.

There I met with a youth and unto him I said
"Would you kindly direct me to where I'll get a bed?"
It was then he directed me down to Cook's Lane,
To where old Dick Darby kept an old sleeping cage

There I put up and down 'til I found out the door,
And I cried, "Must I then spend the night on the floor?"*
And the missus came out and these words to me said,
"If you give me three coppers I'll give you a bed."

She took me upstairs and she put out the light,
And in less than five minutes I had to show fight.
In less than five more, sure the story was worse,
For the fleas came about me and brought me a curse.

All round me body they formed an arch,
And all round me body they played the dead march.
The bloody old major gave me such a nip
That he nearly had taken the use of me hip.

Now I'm going to me study, these lines to pen down,
And if any poor traveler should e'er come to town,
If any poor traveler benighted like me,
Oh, beware of Dick Darby and the black cavalry.


Black Velvet Band
In a neat little town they call Belfast,
Apprenticed to trade I was bound,
With gaeity and bright amusement,
To see all the days go around,
Till a strange misfortune came over me,
Which caused me to stray from the land,
Far away from my friends and relations,
Betrayed by the Black Velvet Band.

As I went walking down Broadway,
Not meaning to stay very long,
Who should I see, but a fine colleen,
As she came a-traipsing along.
A watch she pulled out of her pocket,
And slipped it right into my hand,
On the very first day that I met her,
Bad luck to the black velvet band.

Her eyes they shone like diamonds,
You'd think her the queen of the land,
And her hair hung over her shoulder,
Tied up with a black velvet band.

Before the judge and the jury,
The next morning we both did appear,
And the gentlemen swore to the jury,
The case was proven quite clear,
For seven years transportation,
Down to the Van Dieman's Land,
Far away from my friends and relations,
To follow the Black Velvet Band.

Oh all you brave young fellows,
A warning now take you from me,
Beware of the pretty young damsels,
You might meet around in Tralee.
They'll treat you to whiskey and porter,
Until you're unable to stand,
And before you have time to leave them,
You'll be sent down to Van Diemans Land.


Black is the Colour
Black is the colour of my true love's hair
Her lips are like some roses fair
She's the sweetest smile and the gentlest hands
I love the ground whereon she stands

I love my love and well she knows
I love the ground whereon she goes
I wish the day - it soon would come
When she and I could be as one
repeat chorus

I go to the Clyde and I mourne and weep
For satisfied I ne're can be
I write her a letter - just a few short lines
And suffer death a thousand times-
repeat chorus


The Bold Black and Tan
Says Lloyd-George to Macpherson, "l give you the sack,
To uphold law and order you haven't the knack,
I'll send over Greenwood, a much stronger man,
And fill up the Green Isle with the bold Black and Tan."

He sent them all over to pillage and loot
And burn down the houses, the inmates to shoot.
" To re-conquer Ireland, he said, is my plan
With Macready and Co. and his bold Black and Tan."

The town of Balbriggan they've burned to the ground
While bullets Like hailstones were whizzing around;
And women left homeless by this evil clan.
They've waged war on the children, the bold Black and Tan.

From Dublin to Cork and from Thurles to Mayo
Lies a trail of destruction wherever they go;
With England to help and fierce passions to fan,
She must feel bloody proud of her bold Black and Tan.

Ah, then not by the terrors of England's foul horde,
For ne'er could a nation be ruled by the sword;
For our country we'll have yet in spite of her plan
Or ten times the number of bold Black and Tan.

We defeated Conscription in spite of their threats,
And we're going to defeat old Lloyd-George and his pets;
For Ireland and Freedom we're here to a man,
And we'll humble the pride of the bold Black and Tan.


Bold Robert Emmet
The struggle is over, the boys are defeated,
Old Ireland's surrounded with sadness and gloom,
We were defeated and shamefuIIy treated,
And I, Robert Emmet, awaiting my doom.
Hung, drawn and quartered, sure that was my sentence,
But soon I will show them no coward am I.
My crime is the love of the land I was born in,
A hero I lived and a hero I'll die.

chorus: Bold Robert Emmet, the darling of Ireland,
Bold Robert Emmet will die with a smile,
Farewell companions both loyal and daring,
I'll lay down my life for the Emerald Isle.

The barque lay at anchor awaiting to bring me
Over the billows to the land of the free;
But I must see my sweetheart for I know she will cheer me,
And with her I will sail far over the sea.
But I was arrested and cast into prison,
Tried as a traitor, a rebel, a spy;
But no man can call me a knave or a coward,
A hero I lived and a hero I'll die.


Hark! I the bell's tolling, I well know its meaning,
My poor heart tells me it is my death knell;
In come the clergy, the warder is leading,
I have no friends here to bid me farewell.
Goodbye, old Ireland, my parents and sweetheart,
Companions in arms to forget you must try;
I am proud of the honour, it was only my duty-
A hero I lived and a hero I'll die.



Boston City
I was born in Boston city boys, a place you all know well,
Brought up by honest parents, the truth to you I’ll tell,
Brought up by honest parents, and raised most tenderly,
Till I became a sporting blade at the age of twenty three.

My character it was taken and I was sent to jail,
My parents thought to bail me out, but they found it all in vain; The jury found me guilty, and the clerk he wrote it down, The judge he passed my sentence and I was sent to Charlestown.

I see my aged father and he standing by the Bar,
Likewise my aged mother and she tearing off her hair;
The tearing of her old grey locks and the tears came mingled down, saying ‘John, my son, what have you done, that you’re bound for Charlestown.’

There’s a girl in Boston city boys, a place you all know well. And if e’er I get my liberty, it’s with her I will dwell. If e’er I get my liberty, bad company I will shun, The robbing of the Munster bank, and the drinking of the rum.

You lads that are at liberty, should kept it while you can, Don’t roam the street by night or day, or break the laws of man. For if you do you’re sure to rue and become a lad like me, A-serving up your twenty-one years, in the Royal Artillery.


cho: Where are the lads who stood with me
When history was made?
Oh, gra mo chree I long to see
The Boys of the Old Brigade.

"Oh father, why are you so sad,
on this bright Easter morn?
When Irishmen are proud and glad
Of the land where they were born."
"Oh, son, I see sad mem'ries view
Of far-off distant days,
When, being just a boy like you,
I joined the old brigade.

In hills and farms the call to arms
Was heard by one and all,
And from the glens came brave young men
To answer Ireland's call.
'Twas long ago we faced the foe,
The old brigade and me,
But by my side they fought and died
That Ireland might be free.

And now, my boy, I've told you why
On Easter morn I sigh
For I recall my comrades all
From dark old days gone by,
I think of men who fought in glens
With rifles and grenade
May Heaven keep the men who sleep
From the ranks of the old brigade.


'Tis of a brave young highwayman this story I will tell
His name was Willie Brennan and in Ireland he did dwell
It was on the Kilwood Mountain he commenced his wild career
And many a wealthy nobleman before him shook with fear

It was Brennan on the moor, Brennan on the moor
Bold, brave and undaunted was young Brennan on the moor

One day upon the highway as young Willie he went down
He met the mayor of Cashiell a mile outside of town
The mayor he knew his features and he said, Young man, said he
Your name is Willie Brennan, you must come along with me

Now Brennan's wife had gone to town provisions for to buy
And when she saw her Willie she commenced to weep and cry
Said, Hand to me that tenpenny, as soon as Willie spoke
She handed him a blunderbuss from underneath her cloak
Now with this loaded blunderbuss - the truth I will unfold -
He made the mayor to tremble and he robbed him of his gold
One hundred pounds was offered for his apprehension there
So he, with horse and saddle to the mountains did repair

Now Brennan being an outlaw upon the mountains high
With cavalry and infantry to take him they did try
He laughed at them with scorn until at last 'twas said
By a false-hearted woman he was cruelly betrayed


I've a nice little house and a cow or two with grass
I've a plant garden running by my door
I've a shelter for the hens and a stable for the ass
Now what could a man want more?

I don't know, maybe so
But a bachelor's life is easy and it's free
I'm the last to complain, but I'm living all alone
Sure nobody's looking after me

Me father often tells me I should go and have a try
To find a girl that owns a bit of land
And I know the way he says it, there is someone on his mind
And my mother has the whole thing planned

I don't know, maybe so
It would mollify them so to agree
Now there's little Bridget Flynn, sure its her I'd like to win
But she never has an eye for me

Now there's a little girl who is worth her weight in gold
And that's a decent dowry, don't you see
And I mean to go and ask her just as soon as I get home
If she'll come and have an eye for me

Will she go, I don't know
But I'd love to have her sitting on my knee
And I'd sing like a thrush in the hawthorn bush
If she'd come and have an eye for me


Bridget O'Malley
Oh Bridget O'Malley, you've left my heart shaken
With a hopeless desolation I'd have you to know
It's the wonders of admiration your quiet face has taken
And your beauty will haunt me wherever I go.

The white moon above the pale sands, the pale stars above the thorn tree
Are cold beside my darling, but no purer than she
I gaze upon the cold moon till the stars drown in the warm seas
And the bright eyes of my darling are never on me.

My Sunday it is weary, my Sunday it is grey now
My heart is a cold thing, my heart is a stone
All joy is dead within me, my life has gone away now
For another has taken My love for his own.

The day is approaching when we were to be married
And it's rather I would die than live only to grieve
Oh, meet me, My Darling, e'er the sun sets o'er the barley.
And I'll meet you there on the road to Drumslieve.

Oh Bridget O'Malley, you have my heart shaken
With a hopeless desolation, I'd have you to know
It's the wonders of admiration your quiet face has taken
And your beauty will haunt me wherever I go.


Bryan O'Lynn was a gentleman born
He lived at a time when no clothes they were worn,
But as fashion went out, of course Bryan walked in
"Whoo, I'll lead the fashions," says Bryan O'Lynn.

Bryan O'Lynn 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,
"Whoo, they're pleasant and cool." says Bryan O'Lynn.

Bryan O'Lynn had no shirt to his back,
He went to his neighbor's and borrowed a sack
Then he puckered the meal bag up under his chin
"Whoo, they'll take them for ruffles," says Bryan O'Lynn.

Bryan O'Lynn had no hat to his head,
He thought that the pot would do him instead,
Then he murdered murdered a cod for the sake of its fin,
"Whoo, 'twill pass for a feather." says Bryan O'Lynn.

Bryan O'Lynn was hard up for a coat
He borrowed a skin of a neighboring goat
With the horns sticking out from his oxters, and then
"Whoo, they'll take them for pistols," says Bryan O'Lynn.

Bryan O'Lynn had no stockings to wear,
He bought him a rat's skin to make him a pair,
He then drew them on and they fitted his shin,
"Whoo, they're illegant wear," says Bryan O'Lynn.

Bryan O'Lynn had no brogues to his toes,
He hopped on two crab shells to serve him for those,
Then he split up two oysters that matched just like twins,
"Whoo, they'll shine out like buckles," says Bryan O'Lynn.

Bryan O'Lynn had no watch to put on,
He scooped out a turnip to make him a one
Then he planted a cricket in under the skin
"Whoo, they'll think it's a-tickin," says Bryan O'Lynn.

Bryan O'Lynn to his house had no door,
He'd the sky for a roof and the bog for a floor,
He'd a way to jump out and a way to swim in,
"Whoo, it's very convanient," says Bryan O'Lynn.

Bryan O'Lynn, his wife, and wife's mother,
They all went home o'er the bridge together,
The bridge it broke down and they all tumbled in,
"Whoo, we'll go home by water," says Bryan O'Lynn.


Bunch of Thyme
Come all ye maidens young and fair,
All you who are blooming in your prime,
Always beware to keep your garden fair,
Let no man steal away your thyme.

Thyme it is a precious thing,
Thyme brings all things to your mind,
Thyme with all its labors, along with all its joys,
And thyme brings all things to an end.

Once I had a bunch of thyme,
I thought it never would decay,
Until a saucy sailor chanced upon my way,
He stole away my bonny bunch of thyme.

This sailor, he gave to me a rose,
I thought it never would decay,
He gave it to me to keep me well-minded,
Of the night he stole my bonny bunch of thyme.

Come all ye maidens young and fair,
All you who are blooming in your prime,
Always beware to keep your garden fair,
Let no man steal away your thyme.


In the cool of the evening, they used to gather,
'neath the stars in the meadow circling an old oak tree.
At the times appointed by the seasons of the earth and
the phases of the moon.
In the center, often stood a woman, equal with the others
respected for her word.
One of the many they call the witches, the healers and
the teachers of the wisdom of the Earth.
And the people grew in the knowledge she gave them,
herbs to heal their bodies, smells to make their spirits whole.
Hear them chanting healing incantations, calling for the wise ones
celebrating in dance and song.
Isis, Astarte, Diane, Hegati, Dimitra, Kali, Inarna

There were those who came to power, through domination.
They were bonded in their worship of a dead man on a cross.
They sought control of the common people by demanding allegiance
to the church of Rome.
And the Pope he commenced the inquisition, as war against the women
whose powers they feared.
In this holocaust, in this age of evil, nine million European
women they died.
And a tale is told of those who by the hundreds, holding hands together
chose their deaths in the sea.
While chanting the praises of the Mother Goddess, their refusal of betrayal
women were dying to be free.
Isis, Astarte, Diane, Hegati, Dimitra, Kali, Inarna

Now the Earth is a witch, and we still burn her. Stripping her down
with mining and the poison from our wars.
Still to us the Earth is a healer, a teacher and a mother.
The weaver of a web of light that keeps us all alive.
She gives us the vision to see through the chaos,
she gives us the courage, it is our will to survive!
Isis, Astarte, Diane, Hegati, Dimitra, Kali, Inarna

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