The Bantry Girls Lament

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Melody -
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ca. 1810

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

2. Oh, the girls from the Bánóg 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.

3. The boys will sorely miss him when money more 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.

4. At wakes and hurling matches your like we'll never see
Till you come back again to us a stóirín óg mo chroí.
Then wont you thrash the buckeens that show us such disdain
Because our eyes are not so bright as those you'll see in Spain.

5. 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.


Bantry is a small town in Cork and Bánóg is a small town in Cork outside of Bantry.
*Mí an Fhomair "month of the harvest" anglicized to "money more" probably a play on words as money would have been more plentiful at harvest time. This song is at least from the Peninsular War, 1807-1814.

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