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(Eoghan Ruadh)

GIVE ear, ye British Hearts of gold,
That e'er disdain to be controlled,
Good news to you I will unfold,
'Tis of brave Rodney's glory,
Who always bore a noble heart,
And from his colours ne'er would start,
But always took his country's part
Against each foe who dared t'oppose
Or blast the bloom of England's Rose,
So now observe my story.

'Twas in the year of Eighty Two,
The Frenchmen know full well 'tis true,
Brave Rodney did their fleet subdue,
Not far from Old Fort Royal.
Full early by the morning light,
The proud De Grasse appeared in sight,
And thought brave Rodney to affright,
With colours spread at each mast-head,
Long pendants, too, both white and red,
A signal for engagement.

Our Admiral then he gave command,
That each should at his station stand,
"Now for the sake of Old England,
We'll show them British valour."
Then we the British Flag displayed
No tortures could our hearts invade,
Both sides began to cannonade,
Their mighty shot we valued not,
We plied our "Irish pills" so hot,
Which put them in confusion.

This made the Frenchmen to combine,
And draw their shipping in a line,
To sink our fleet was their design,
But they were far mistaken.
Broadside for broadside we let fly,
Till they in hundreds bleeding lie,
The seas were all of crimson dye,
Full deep we stood in human blood,
Surrounded by a scarlet flood,
But still we fought courageous.

So loud our cannons that the roar
Re-echoed round the Indian shore,
Both ships and rigging suffered sore,
We kept such constant firing;
Our guns did roar and smoke did rise,
And clouds of sulphur veiled the skies,
Which filled De Grasse with wild surprise;
Both Rodney's guns and Paddy's sons
Make echo shake where'er they come,
They fear no French nor Spaniards.

From morning's dawn to fall of night,
We did maintain this bloody fight,
Being still regardless of their might,
We fought like Irish heroes.
Though on our deck did bleeding lie
Many of our men in agony,
We resolved to conquer or die,
To gain the glorious victory,
And would rather suffer to sink or die
Than offer to surrender.

So well our quarters we maintained,
Five captured ships we have obtained,
And thousands of their men were slain,
During this hot engagement;
Our British metal flew like hail,
Until at length the French turned tail,
Drew in their colours and made sail
In deep distress, as you may guess,
And when they got in readiness
They sailed down to Fort Royal.

Now may prosperity attend
Brave Rodney and his Irishmen,
And may he never want a friend
While he shall reign commander;
Success to our Irish officers,
Seamen bold and jolly tars,
Who like darling sons of Mars
Take delight in the fight
And vindicate bold England's right
And die for Erin's glory.

The poem above is quoted by Daniel Corkery in The Hidden Ireland
where it is taken from the poems of Eoghan Ruadh
collected from various sources by Father Dinneen.

According to Corkery Eoghan Ruadh had either joined the Royal Navy
in Cork in about 1780, or had been press ganged into the service. He was
in the fleet commanded by Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney which defeated
the French fleet under the Comte de Grasse in the Battle of the Saintes off
Dominica in 1782. This victory saved the important colony of Jamaica for
Great Britain, and Rodney was created 1st Baron Rodney and awarded the then
huge pension of B2000 a year by Parliament. The elegant new Rodney Street
in Liverpool was named for him (instead of being called De Schlink Street)
by the grateful slave traders and sugar merchants of that town.

Corkery goes on to tell the story that Eoghan Ruadh composed the song in
the heat of battle and showed it to the victorious admiral, hoping thereby
to win his discharge. Apparently he was offered promotion but the request
for his freedom was thwarted by an Irish officer named MacCarthy.

@history @war
filename[ RODNGLOR

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