This Ulster dialect recitation, is about Thomas Russell, who founded, with Henry Joy McCraken, the northern arm of the United Irishmen in 1791. It was written by Florence Wilson.
The Man From God-Knows-Where
Into our townlan', on a night of snow,
Rode a man from God-knows-where;
None of us bade him stay or go,
Nor deemed him frien, nor damned him foe,
But we stabled his big roan mare:
For in our townlan' we're decent folk,
And if he didn't speak, why none of us spoke,
And we sat till the fire burned low.
We're a civil sort in our wee place,
So we made the circle wide
Round Andy Lemon's cheerful blaze,
And wished the man his length of days,
And a good end to his ride.
He smiled in under his slouchy hat -
Says he: "There's a bit of a joke in that,
For we ride different ways."
The whiles we smoked we watched him stare
From his seat fornenst the glow.
I nudged Joe Moore: "You wouldn't dare
To ask him, who he's for meeting there,
And how far he has got to go."
But Joe wouldn't dare, nor Wully Scott,
And he took no drink---neither cold nor hot-
This man from God-knows-where
It was closin' time, an' late forbye,
When us ones braved the air-
I never saw worse (may I live or die)
Then the sleet that night, an' I says, says I:
"You'll find he's for stopping there."
But at screek o'day, through the gable pane,
I watched him spur in the peltin' rain,
And I juked from his rovin' eye.
Two winters more, then the Trouble Year,
When the best that a man can feel
Was the pike he kept in hidin's near,
Till the blood o' hate an' the blood o' fear
Would be redder nor the rust on the steel.
Us ones quiet from mindin' the farms,
Let them take what we gavewi' the weight o' our arms
From Saintfield to Kilkeel.
In the Time o' the Hurry, we had no lead-
We all of us fought with the rest-
An' if e'er a one shook like a tremblin' reed,
None of us gave either hint nor heed.
Nor ever even'd we'd guessed.
We men of the North had a word to say,
An' we said it then, in our own dour way,
An' we spoke as we thought was best.
All Ulster over, the weemen cried
For the stan'-in' crops on the lan'-
Many's the sweetheart an' many's the the bride
Would liefer ha' gone till where He died,
An' ha' mourned her lone by her man.
But us ones weathered the thick of it,
And we used to dander along, and sit,
In Andy's, side by side.
What with discoorse goin' to and fro,
The night would be wearin' thin,
Yet never so late when we rose to go
But someone would say: "Do ye min' thon snow,
An' the man who came wanderin' in?"
And we be to fall the talk again,
If by any chance he was One O' Them-
The man who went like the win'.
Well 'twas gettin' on past the heat o' the year
When I rode to Newtown fair:
I sold as I could the dealers were near-
Only three pounds eight for the Innish steer,
(An' nothin' at all for the mare!)
I met McKee in the throng o' the street,
Says he: "The grass has grown under our feet
Since they hanged young Warwick here."
And he told me that Boney had promised help
To a man in Dublin town.
Says he: "If ye've laid the pike on the shelf,
Ye'd better go home hot-fut by yerself,
An' once more take it down."
So by Comber road I trotted the grey
And never cut corn until Killyeagh
Stood plain on the rising groun'.
For a wheen o'day we sat waitin' the word
To rise and go at it like men.
But no French ships sailed into Cloughey Bay,
And we heard the black news on a harvest day
That the cause was lost again;
And Joey and me, and Wully Boy Scott,
We agreed to ourselves we'd as lief as not
Ha'been found in the thick o'the slain.
By Downpatrick gaol I was bound to fare
On a day I'll remember, feth,
For when I came to the prison square
The people were waitin' in hundreds there,
An' you wouldn't hear stir nor breath!
For the sodgers were standing, grim an' tall,
Round a scaffold built there fornent the wall.
An' a man stepped out for death!
I was brave an' near to the edge of the throng,
Yet I knowed the face again.
An' I knowed the set, an' I knowed the walk
An' the sound of his strange up-country talk,
For he spoke out right an' plain.
Then he bowed his head to the swinging rope,
Whiles I said "Please God" to his dying hope
And "Amen" to his dying prayer,
That the Wrong would cease and the Right prevail,
For the man that they hanged at Downpatrick gaol,
Was the man from GOD-KNOWS-WHERE!
Regards Mick Bracken.