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Origins: Croppy Boy

GUEST,Degsy 28 Jun 08 - 11:42 AM
Big Tim 28 Jun 08 - 12:18 PM
Newport Boy 28 Jun 08 - 12:19 PM
Big Tim 28 Jun 08 - 12:23 PM
GUEST 28 Jun 08 - 12:28 PM
gnu 28 Jun 08 - 12:37 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 08 - 01:05 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jun 08 - 01:11 PM
Newport Boy 28 Jun 08 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Degsy 28 Jun 08 - 02:33 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 08 - 03:30 PM
Big Tim 28 Jun 08 - 04:37 PM
GUEST 28 Jun 08 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,JTT 28 Jun 08 - 07:25 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Jun 08 - 02:42 AM
ard mhacha 29 Jun 08 - 05:26 AM
gnu 29 Jun 08 - 05:40 AM
Big Tim 29 Jun 08 - 12:21 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Oct 12 - 01:12 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Oct 12 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Desi C 14 Oct 12 - 01:45 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Oct 12 - 03:36 PM
gnu 14 Oct 12 - 03:50 PM
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Subject: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: GUEST,Degsy
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 11:42 AM

Hello,

I have been looking for a definitive and correct version of this song and I am struggling. The version I am looking for is the "It was early, early in the spring" version listed under 'Croppy Boy' in Mudcat and not the "Good men and true in this house who dwell" one listed as 'Croppie boy'. My mother used to sing the latter when I was a child and apart for some reference to Geneva Valley seems to be fairly ok.

The problem I have is with the "Croppy Boy" lyrics. I have scoured the Internet and every version seems to start with the same verse.

"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."

No problem there but then things get a bit confused. One problem seems to be that people have been adding verses, changing lines and swapping names. Another problem is that the verses in many versions seem out of sync. The order doesn't make much sense.

Then there is the sudden movement from Wexford to Dungannon. That would have been some trick in 1798 Ireland.

I think it is cerain that this is a Wexford song and Dungannon can go fish. The Croppy Boy was incarcerated in the British Fort in Duncannon, with a 'C'. This still exists and is or was until recently owned by the Irish Defence Forces and you could actually visit the Croppy Boy cell. I did so as a youth during a scout camp in Duncannon, which is in the west of County Wexford on the River Suir estuary.

A problem with a fantastic resource like Mudcat is that many sites just copy lyrics from it as they find them here and incorrect versions get propogated. Checking various versions on Youtube has just added to the confusion.

I would really appreciate it if someone could check out their old song books and check the lyrics for the Croppy Boy if they have them. I would suggest that pre-internet books would be more likely to be accurate. I have some but a recent house move means they are in boxes that I can't get at.

Sorry for being so long winded.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: Big Tim
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 12:18 PM

Maybe the confusion is due to there being two songs titled 'The Croppy Boy' ('croppy' from short cropped hair, the style of the French revolutionaries).

One, you have given, starting 'twas early, early in the spring'.

The second starts, 'Good men and true in this house who dwell, to a stranger buchaill (young man) I pray you tell'. This is the version that refers to Geneva Barracks, in Wexford, named afer a Swiss settlement.

I'd be very surprised if both versions weren't online.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE CROPPY BOY
From: Newport Boy
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 12:19 PM

Not only pre-internet, but pre-computer.

The Croppy Boy
Words & Music: traditional (early 19th century)

It was very 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.

It was early, early in the night,
The yeoman cavalry gave me a fright;
The yeoman cavalry was my downfall,
And taken was I by Lord Cornwall.

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

As I was passing by my father's door
My brother William stood at the door;
My aged father stood at the door
And my tender mother her hair she tore.

As I was walking up Wexford Street
My own first cousin I chanced to meet;
My own first cousin that did me betray,
And for one bare guinea swore my life away.

My sister Mary heard the express,
She ran upstairs in her mourning-dress -
Five hundred guineas I will lay down
To see my brother through Wexford Town.

As I was walking up Wexford Hill
Who could blame me to cry my fill?
I looked behind and I looked before,
But my tender mother I shall ne'er see more.

As I was mounted on the platform high,
My aged father was standing by;
My aged father did me deny,
And the name he gave me was the Croppy Boy.

It was in Dungannon this young man died,
And in Dungannon his body lies;
All you good Christians that do pass by
Just drop a tear for the Croppy Boy.


From 'Ballads from the Pubs of Ireland' by James N Healy
The Mercier Press, 4 Bridge Street, Cork
3rd Edition - Spring 1968

Healy compares it to "The Sailor Boy" and notes that they often share the same traditional Irish tune. He prefers it sung to another air "which Bunting lists as 'Charley Reilly'."

I bought this book, together with 2 others, on a holiday in Dingle in 1968. I remember it so well because we had two weeks of constant sunshine, except the day we drove to Killarney.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: Big Tim
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 12:23 PM

It's actually 'Duncannon [Fort]', a few miles west of Wexford town.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE CROPPY BOY (I)
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 12:28 PM

Degsy,This is the text from Zimmermann's 'Songs of Irish Rebellion - bit longer than the one I'm used to.
I have added the note we did for Tom Lenihan's version on 'Around the Hills of Clare because it includes an interesting (to me) explanation of the 'Geneva' reference.
"Sorry for being so long winded"
Don't apologise, it's one of the rules of membership.
Jim Carroll


THE CROPPY BOY (I)
(1798)
TEXT A: Broadside printed by Haly, Cork; in T.C.D. (White coll.).

It was early, early in the spring
When small birds tune and thrushes sing
Changing their notes from tree to tree,
And the song they sang was old Ireland free.

It was early, early last Tuesday night,
The Yeomen cavalry gave me a fright,
To my misfortune and sad downfall
I was taken prisoner by Lord Cornwall.

It was to the guard-house I then was led,
And in his parlour I was tried,
My sentence passed and my courage low
To New Geneva I was forced to go.

As I was going by my father's door,
My brother William stood on the floor,
My aged father stood at the door,
And my tender mother her hair she tore.

As I was going through Wexford street
My own first cousin I there did meet,
My own first cousin did me betray
And for one guinea swore my life away.

As I was going up Croppy Hill
Who could blame me if I cried my fill?
I looked behind and I looked before,
My tender mother I could see no more.

My sister Mary heard the express,
She ran downstairs in her morning dress,
One hundred guineas she would lay down
To see me liberated in Wexford town.

I chose the black and I chose the blue,
I forsook the pink and the orange too,
But I did forsake them and did them deny
And I'll wear the green, like a Croppy Boy.

Farewell, father, and mother too,
And, sister Mary, I have but you;
As for my brother, he's all alone,
He's pointing pikes on the grinding stone.

It was in Geneva this young man died,
And in Geneva his body lies.
All good Christians that are standing by
Pray the lord have mercy on the Croppy Boy.


The term Croppy is popularly believed to refer to the custom, followed by participants of the 1798 rebellion, of wearing their hair cut short to show support for the French Revolution. However, poet and playwright Patrick Galvin put forward a number of other, equally convincing explanations, which included the practice of punishing convicted felons by cutting off the tops of their ears, and a form of torture applied to rebels known as 'pitch cap'. He suggested that a true explanation probably lay in a combination of these.
New Geneva was a military barracks near the village of Passage, Co Waterford, which was used as a prison and torture-house dur¬ing the rebellion. The name derives from an abortive project some fifteen years earlier, to build a city there for emigre intellectuals and watchmakers from Geneva.
Ref: Irish Songs of Resistance, Patrick Galvin, Pub. Workers Music Association, 1956
Other recordings: Mrs Brigid Tunney; Where The Linnets Sing; C.C.E. cassette CL44


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: gnu
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 12:37 PM

Yes... always bugged me that his cousin betrayed him AFTER he was taken. Never really made sense. But, I still sing it that way.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 01:05 PM

Gnu
The cousin is said to have given evidence against him at the trial - according to older singers we have spoken to
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 01:11 PM

You're not likely to find a 'definitive and correct' form; it seems to have circulated orally for a few years before its first appearance on broadsides, as even the earliest differ in content. P W Joyce dated it to the time of the Wexford Insurgency of 1798, which is uncontroversial; though Zimmerman's unqualified use of that date is misleading, as there is no evidence that the song was actually written in that year. Surviving Irish broadside editions such as Haly's are relatively late, and it probably first saw print in London, though presumably it started out in Ireland.

The song has been discussed here a number of times; there are links to older threads in the DT files (ignore the Barbara Dickson one, though; completely different song). The text from Healy (does he not credit any source?) may have been taken from a broadside, as these typically begin 'It was very early'. I suspect that the change in most oral examples to 'early, early' was by analogy with forms of 'Sailor's Life', which tends to open with that line and is often sung to a related tune. Geneva also appears in Carroll Malone (James McBurney)'s 'Croppy Boy'; I wonder if Haly may have borrowed it from that source? Earlier print always has 'Dungannon', I think.

Editions of 'Croppy Boy' at the Bodleian Library


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: Newport Boy
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 01:42 PM

Malcolm

Healey generally credits known writers and composers, but doesn't usually expand on 'Traditional'. His general introductions mention a number of early collectors, but he hardly mentions the word 'broadside'.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: GUEST,Degsy
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 02:33 PM

Hello all,

It is fantastic to get an explanation of the "New Geneva" reference so thanks Jim and Big Tim for those. Passage East is opposite Duncannon on the Suir estuary just a few miles from Waterford city, so that ties in nicely with the Duncannon story. It is likely that they were opposing forts defending the estuary, common around the coast. I thought a barracks in Wexford was just as plausible until I followed the lead and found this reference on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Barracks.

Still a bit of a mish-mash with Croppy Hill, Wexford Hill, Geneva Hill etc etc.

AND if even a 1968 song book has Dungannon in it, I have to agree with Malcolm that it is unlikely that there is a definitive version anymore. So maybe I'll make up my own.

Thanks everyone


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 03:30 PM

This is Zimmermann's note, virtually complete, his source is as given Haly in Cork; in Trinity College Dublin, (White collection)
His date, 1798, refers to the events in the song.
Jim Carroll

Three anonymous texts given in Part 2 and told in a naive fashion represent the main types of narrative street songs with political subjects popular in nineteenth cen¬tury Ireland.

The first of them, «The Croppy Boy» (song 19), though often reprinted on broadsides is closer than the others to oral folk song, as is shown by the number of its variants and by formal details. As can be seen from the two families of tunes to which it may be sung, and from some of its lines too, this text is related to two groups of songs found in England and America as well as in Ireland, dating probably from the eighteenth century. The tune given by Joyce, and the opening line evoking spring, are akin to the song called «My Boy Willie», «Sweet William» or «The Sailor Boy». The tunes given by Bunting and Petrie, for instance, belong to the ballad «The Robber», also known as «Charley Reilly», «In Newry Town» or «The Bold and Undaunted Youth » , which has very similar lines   too:

... Taken I was by that cursed crew.
My father cried for his darling son,
My wife cried I am undone,
My mother she tore her white locks ...

The song consists of a series of short scenes conveyed by a commentary in the first person, with a transfer from the subjective to the objective form in the last stanza of some variants. Action is suggested rather than detailed. There is little regard for motivation and for circumstantial ac¬curacy, much is left to the imagination: as to why and where the Croppy Boy was arrested and how his cousin betrayed him, it remains for the listener to guess, if he wants to. Some passages have been selected as most dramatic, others do not advance the story but please the audience with the recurrence of familiar lines (the «drum and fife» episode, for instance).    The traditional device of «incremental repetition is used to introduce different scenes: the progression in the street, before the family house, up the hill. It follows the favourite folk song device of arranging incidents in three, and lingers at some stage of the action, with the result that suspense is created and tension worked up. The series of parents, brother, sister, etc., introduced in successive stanzas, was also a favourite device in folk ballads. The setting is only hinted at through a few details: the trees where birds are singing, the guardhouse and parlour where the hero is tried, the successive stations on his road to Duncannon or New Geneva. The important thing is the emotional succession of short scenes evoked through very simple means, the transition from the happiness in the first stanza to «low spirit» in the third, the appearance of the parents mute and terror-stricken, at the door of their house, then the «deep distress» of the sister running down the stairs, the crying of the hero while going up the hill... The pathos of a few details (the mother's gesture of despair, for instance) and the nai've tone of the rest of the narrative combine to give the song an undeniable charm. «The Croppy Boy», however, differs from the strict ballad form — the «Child ballad)) — mainly in being more lyrical and in making no use of the traditional series of questions and answers, or of any form of dialogue.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: Big Tim
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 04:37 PM

'Lord Cornwall' was actually Charles Cornwallis, First Marquis (1738-1805). He was Lord Lieutenant (top Briton) in Ireland in June 1798 (the time of the rebellion). He supervised the final suppression of the United Irishmen, tho loyalists dubbed him 'Lord Corneywallis' for, in their opinion, his leniency towards defeated rebels.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 05:52 PM

Jim,
Very interesting account of the ballad from Zimmerman. It actually helps a lot to understand the traditional ballad form as described here and when combined with the historical and geographic contexts, it makes the whole thing easier to understand.

All the versions posted here and in the database are far longer than any I have heard sung and it seems that performers pick and choose their preferred verses. I think I will find it easier to choose mine now.

Thanks again all. Marvelous stuff.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 07:25 PM

If you want a flavour of how things were during the 1798 Rising and after it (when more people were killed than in the French Revolution), read Mary Leadbeater's Annals of Ballitore, which you'll find in Google Books.

This is the diary of a Quaker woman living in south Kildare, near Carlow and not so far from Wexford, where the worst atrocities were committed (children hanged for not giving information on their parents, etc).

The Quakers behaved particularly well during '98, giving aid and medication to both sides, and were punished for it by the British.

It's perfectly feasible that a cousin would betray someone *after* he was tried. As becomes clear if you read Annals of Ballitore (and other contemporary reports), the courts martial were fit-ups, and once the army had you, you were liable to be dragged off and hanged.

So for someone to shout "That's him, that's my cousin, he's a United man" as someone's led to the gallows, and so seal his fate, is quite believable.

You might also read Jonah Barrington's Recollections of Dublin in the 18th Centry, also available, not in Google Books, I think, but maybe through UCC (University College Cork), which reports the hanging of John Kelly of Killane, who was so tall that the British soldiers couldn't find a tree high enough to hang him.

Instead, they hanged him from a bridge.

His sister, who lived in the town where this happened, looked out from her house on the town square (Enniscorthy, I think), to see her brother's head being used as a football by the soldiers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 02:42 AM

Some years ago I was asked to give a talk to our local history group on how songs dealt with historical events; one of the obvious areas to cover was the 1798 rebellion.
I was intending to use the song 'Ballyshannon Lane', which tells of the harsh treatment and finally the massacre of the rebels by the occupying forces, when a friend pointed out that all was not as it appeared in the ballad.
Finally I decided to use the song as an example of how balladmakers on all sides manipulated history to serve their cause (and on how war brutalises those who are involved).
Jim Carroll.

The Haughs of Cromdale deals with events that took place in 17th century Scotland. There is another song that equally "gets it wrong" about events which took place in Ireland around 100 years later during the 1798 rebellion.
The song, 'Ballyshannon Lane', purports to be about atrocities said to have been committed by the Government troops at Scullabogue, County Wexford in the July of that year, at the same time as the battle for New Ross. It is a lament for the rebels said to have died at the hands of the Hessians and, somewhat confusedly, "Cromwell's crew"; Cromwell having died some 140 years previously.

The truth of the matter is somewhat different. In fact the atrocities were carried out by the fleeing rebels against mainly Protestant loyalists. The following description of events from Thomas Pakenham's 'The Year of Liberty' is based largely on contemporary documents.

"Twenty-five miles away to the west, the beleaguered loyalists of Wexford waited in trepidation for news of the battle. But while all eyes were turned to New Ross, a ghastly scene was being enacted at Scullabogue which was to have a still more indelible mark on Irish history than the battle now raging.
The loyalists imprisoned at Scullabogue had been lodged in an empty house and adjoining barn belonging to a gentleman called Captain King. The barn was a small narrow building of wood and thatch with thick stone walls. Into this had been thrust more than a hundred prisoners - nearly two hundred according to one account - including about twenty women and children. The great majority were, of course, Protestant, though there were some Catholics who had fallen foul of the rebels, some family servants who would not quit their masters, the wife of a militia man, and an old musician whom they accused of playing a loyal tune on his bagpipes. Soon after the first attack on New Ross, a messenger reached Scullabogue with a wild story that the King's soldiers were butchering rebel soldiers; and that orders had now been given to kill loyalist prisoners in retaliation. The rebel captain in charge of the prisoners refused, unless directly ordered by the general. Another order came, to the same effect, and again received the same refusal. Then a third order, supposedly issued by a priest, and the guards could no longer be restrained.
One group hauled out the prisoners from the house. After taking off their coats and uttering a short prayer, they began the work of execution. The prisoners were made to kneel down and were shot four at a time while the next four were being lined up; countrywomen rushed forward regardless of risk to strip the bodies and take their valuables. All told, thirty-five men were shot on the lawn at Scullabogue, each fusillade provoking a cheer from the rebel guards, according to a loyalist who somehow survived.
Meanwhile a second group of rebels were dealing with the families in the barn. Someone had already put a ladder to the walls and set fire to the thatched roof. In their terror of being burnt or suffocated the wretched people inside apparently tried to push open the heavy door at the back. The guards rushed to the door, hacking at their hands and fingers; the door was jammed shut again. By weight of numbers, the prisoners again forced the door open - to be again thrust back by pikes. One two-year-old child actually crept under the door and lay unobserved by the house, till someone spotted the wretched creature and ran it through with his pike.
At last the business was over, the screams faded into silence and the flames died away. In the ruins of the barn they found over a hundred charred bodies, families huddled together and still standing upright for want of space.
For several days, the guards were occupied turning over the bodies to look for coins or other valuables."

It's little wonder that the perpetrators of such an atrocity should want to shift the blame to the other side. This contemporary illustration is a depiction of the scene at Scullabogue by cartoonist George Cruikshank. Usually such illustrations tend to exaggerate the events depicted, though it's fairly clear from the contemporary description that there has been little exaggeration here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: ard mhacha
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 05:26 AM

Lord Cornwall [as Tim points out] also was defeated in the American war of Independence, he took his revenge out on the Irish and please don`t use Dungannon it is Duncannon.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: gnu
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 05:40 AM

The cousin is said to have given evidence against him at the trial - according to older singers we have spoken to.... Jim Carroll

Thanks Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: Big Tim
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 12:21 PM

Kelly of Killanne was hanged in Wexford town. One of his sisters lived there and, wounded, he was seeking refuge in her home but was caught and hung, then beheaded.


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Subject: Lyr ADD: As I Was Walkin' Down Wexford Street
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Oct 12 - 01:12 PM

AS I WAS WALKIN' DOWN WEXFORD STREET

collected by Carl Sandburg

As I was walkin' down Wexford Street
Me father's house I chanc't to meet;
Me aged father stood in the dure,
An' me sister stood on the flure,
While me tender mother her hair she ture.

Sandburg's note:
This should be sung easily and casually to begin with, but in the end it is a Celtic "crying out loud." The mood or tone seems to be of that important Irish drama, "The White Headed Boy," where there is trouble for everybody with nobody to blame, or all at fault. This lilt, too, is from Mother McKinley, formerly of McKinley, Iowa, and later of Chicago.
Arr. L. R. G.

L.R.G. is Lillian Rosedale Goodman.

In Carl Sandburg's The American Songbag he has some orphan lyrics and tunes. This is one of them, appearing on page 35 under the title "As I Was Walkin' Down Wexford Street." Clearly he recognized that this verse was part of something, but didn't know what.

I discovered the connection to The Croppy Boy via an Internet search that took me to another version with an error by the transcriber, but since it is a variation, I'll post that version and those links next.

MD


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Subject: Lyr ADD: Croppy Boy / Copy Boy
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Oct 12 - 01:23 PM

COPY BOY (Alternative title CROPPY BOY)

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'.

It was early, early in the night,
The Yeoman Cavalry gave me a fright;
The Yeoman Cavalry was my downfall,
And taken was I by Lord Cornwall.

When I was standing at my father's door,
My brother William stood on the floor,
My sister Mary did grieve full sore,
My tender mother her grey locks tore.

Twas in the guardhouse where I was laid,
And in the parlour where I was tried;
My sentence passed, and my courage low,
And to Dungara I was forced to go.

My sister Mary she heard the express,
And ran downstairs in her morning dress:
"Five hundred guineas I would pay down,
To see my brother march through Wexford town."

As I was going up Wexford Hill,
Which did induce me to cry my fill;
I looked behind and I looked before,
But my tender mother I could see no more.

As I was walking down Wexford Street,
My own first cousin I chanced to meet;
My own first cousin did me annoy,
And for one burgala swore my life away.

When I was on the gallows high,
My aged father was standing by;
My aged father did me deny,
And the name he gave me was the Copy Boy.

All you good Christians that do pass by,
Pray drop one tear for the Copy Boy.


Found at http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getfolk.php?id=13

Source Primary: WSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 207
Source Secondary: Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 15th January, 1916, p 2, Part 14, No. 10

From the site, notes:

Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'This dates from about 1798, and refers to the rebellion in Ireland, which was effectively suppressed by the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Cornwallis, the Lord Cornwall in the second verse of the song. I obtained the copy in parts, of Charles Tanner, Bampton, and Shadrach Haydon, also now being at Bampton. Neither knew of the others' acquaintance with the song.'

Note 2

In the Ms two words are unclear but are clarified in the WGS they are clear.

In Verse 4, line 4 the unclear word is Dungara.

In Verse 7, line 4 the unclear word is burgala.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

Collected from Shadrach Haydon in Lyford, Berkshire, by Alfred Williams.


MD


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 14 Oct 12 - 01:45 PM

I can confirm the term 'croppy' boys was due to a group of young men in and around Wexford, a sort of mix between early Fenians and outlaws by most accounts. The hid out in the countryside. This led to the practice of forcing them to surrender by threatening their families with death instead, a threat which was frequently carried out! Clearly the tactics associated now with dictatorships such as Lybia and Afghanistan etc, were rife centuries before in Britih ruled Ireland!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Oct 12 - 03:36 PM

Another song to the same title
Jim Carroll

THE CROPPY BOY (II)
(1845)
TEXT: By ((Carroll Malone) (W.B. McBurney), first published in The Nation, 4th January, 1845.

Good men and true in this house who dwell,
To a stranger bouchal I pray you tell,       [Ir. buachaill = boy]
Is the priest at home, or may he be seen?
I would speak a word with Father Green."

"The priest's at home, boy, and may be seen;
'Tis easy speaking with Father Green;
But you must wait till I go and see
If the holy Father alone may be."

The youth has entered an empty hall —
What a lonely sound has his light footfall!
And the gloomy chamber's chill and bare,
With a vested or may he priest in a lonely chair.

The youth has knelt to tell his sins.
"Nomine Dei," the youth begins; At "Mea culpa" he beats his breast,
And in broken murmurs he speaks the rest.

"At the siege of Ross did my father fall,
And at Gorey my loving brothers all,
I alone am left of my name and race,
I will, go to Wexford and take their place.

"I cursed three times since last Easter Day —
At Mass-time once I went to play;
I passed the churchyard one day in haste
And forgot to pray for my mother's rest.

"I bear no hate against living thing,
But I love my country above the King.
Now, Father, bless me and let me go,
To die if God has ordained it so."

The priest said naught, but a rustling noise
Made the youth look up in wild surprise:
The robes were off, and in scarlet there
Sat a Yeoman captain with fiery glare.

With fiery glare and with fury hoarse,
Instead of a blessing he breathed a curse:
"'Twas a good thought, boy, to come here and shrive
For one short hour is your time to live.

"Upon yon river three tenders float,
The priest's in one — if he isn't shot —
We hold this house for our lord the King,
And, Amen, say I, may all traitors swing!"

At Geneva Barracks that young man died,
And at Passage they have his body laid.
Good people, who live in peace and joy,
Breathe a prayer, shed a tear for the Croppy Boy!

TUNE: No melody is named in The Nation, but the ballad was later sung to the air "Calino Casturame". Text and tune were published together in M.J. Murphy's National Songs of Ireland, in 1892. It has been proved that the original song ("Cailki o cois tSiure me") is Irish, but the tune has never been noted from oral tradition since the seventeenth century. M.J. Murphy borrowed this variant from William Ballett's Lute Book, an Eli¬zabethan MS in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. He might have seen it in Samuel Lover's Lyrics of Ireland, p. 358.

NOTE: In The Sham Squire, pp. 179-1810, W.J. Fitzpatrick tells the anec¬dote that inspired this ballad: "The yeomanry [somewhere in County Wex¬ford], after having sacked the chapel and hunted the priest, deputed one of their corps to enter the confessional and personate the good pastor. In the course of the day some young men on their way to the battle of Oulart dropped in for absolution. One, who disclosed his intention, and craved the personated priest's Messing, was retorted upon with a curse, while the yeoman, losing patience, flung off the soutane, revealing beneath his scarlet uniform. The youth was shot upon the spot, and his grave is still shown at Passage.))    On Geneva Barracks, see note to song 19.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Croppy Boy
From: gnu
Date: 14 Oct 12 - 03:50 PM

Thanks, Jim.


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