The Croppy Boy

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Melody - Seq. by Barry Taylor
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Carrol Malone, 1845

It was early, early in the Spring
The birds did whistle and sweetly sing,
Changing their notes from tree to tree
And the song they sang was: Old Ireland free!

2. It was early early in the night,
The yeoman cavalry gave me a fright;
To my misfortune and sad downfall,
I was taken prisoner by Lord Cornwall.

3. 'Twas in the guard-house where I was laid,
And in a parlour where I was tried;
My sentence passed and my courage low
When to New Geneva* I was forced to go.

4. When I was marching through the street,
The drums and fifes did play so sweet,
The drums and fifes so sweetly play,
As we were marching so far away.

5. When I was going past my father's door,
My brother, William, stood on the floor;
My aged father did grieve full sore,
And my tender mother her hair she tore.

6. When my sister, Mary, heard the express,
She ran down stairs in her morning dress,
Saying: one hundred guineas I would lay down
To see you liberated in Wexford town.

7. When I was marching o'er Wexford Hill,
Oh! who could blame me to cry my fill?
I looked behind, I looked before,
But my tender mother I ne'er saw more.

8. I chose the black, I chose the blue,
I forsook the red and orange too,
I did forsake them and did them deny,
I worn the green, and for it I'd die.

9. Farewell, father, and mother, too,
And sister Mary, I have none but you,
And for my brother he's all alone,
He's pointing pikes on the grinding stone.

10. It was in old Ireland this young man died,
And in old Ireland his body's laid,
All the good people that do pass by
Pray the lord have mercy on the Croppy Boy.


In the 1790s Irish Republicans began to crop their hair short in the new French fashion. Hence the name "Croppy".

* The British had a prison at New Geneva, or Geneva Barracks, near Passage, County Waterford.

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