The Rocks Of Bawn (Ryan's Fancy) MIDI, video
See also: Rocks Of Bawn (Masterless Men)
#69: YouTube video by quickaccent2006 ©2008
~ Used with permission ~

midi file   alt: midi file

Come all ye loyal heroes
wherever that you be,
Don't hire with any master
till y' know what your work will be;
For you must rise up early
from the clear daylight till the dawn,
And you never will be able
to plough the rocks of bawn.

My shoes they are well worn now,
my stockings they are thin,
My heart is always trembling
a-feared that I'd give in;
My heart is nearly broken
from the clear daylight till dawn,
And I never will be able
to plough the rocks of bawn.

My curse upon you, Sweeney,
you nearly have me robbed,
You're sitting by the fireside
with your feet upon the hob;
You're sitting by the fireside
from the clear daylight till the dawn,
And you never will be able
to plough the rocks of bawn.

Rise up, rise up, young Sweeney,
and give your horse its hay,
And give him as a feed of oats
before you start away;
Don't feed him on soft turnips
and go on to your green lawn,
And then ye might be able
to plough the rocks of bawn.

I wish the queen of England
would write to me in time,
And place me in some regiment
all in my youth and prime;
I'd fight for Ireland's glory
from clear daylight till the dawn,
And I never would return again
to plough the rocks of bawn.

####.... Author unknown, but possibly Martin Swiney (See notes below). Variant of an Irish traditional ....####
This variant arranged and recorded by Ryan's Fancy (Times To Remember, trk#2, 1974, Audat Records, Oshawa, Ontario); and (Currahs, Minstrels, Rocks & Whiskey, trk#7, 1971, Gunn Records).

See more songs by Ryan's Fancy.

A variant was recorded as Rocks Of Bawn by the Masterless Men (Back On Track / The Masterless Men, trk#1, 2000, produced by the Masterless Men and Spencer Crewe, Mount Pearl, NL, Landwash Distribution Ltd).

See more songs by The Masterless Men.

From the liner notes for Come All Ye Gallant Irishmen (Philo 2004, 1963) by Joe Heaney [1919-1984] of Carna, Galway, Ireland:

Joe learned this plaintive ballad from his father "40 or 50 years ago". It may not be too much older than that as its earliest publication was on a late nineteenth century broadside and it has only been reported from oral tradition in this century. In his book, Ireland Sings (Music Sales Corporation, 1997), Dominic Behan reports that the author was Martin Swiney, who may well be the Sweeney referred to in the ballad. The "rocks of bawn" may refer to the white rocks of western Ireland [bawn=ban (Gaelic for white)] where Catholic landowners and farmers, dispossessed of their fertile farm lands in Meath by Oliver Cromwell in the seventeenth century, were forced to settle and where they have since managed, at best, a bleak existence from the rocks and the sea of the scraggy west coastal lands. To the hard-pressed, tired and bitter hired farm servant of the ballad, the British army presents itself as a reasonable escape from the near impossibility to "plough the rocks of bawn".


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