#03015
Rocks Of Bawn (Masterless Men) video
See also: The Rocks Of Bawn (Ryan's Fancy)
#1595: YouTube video by TheNewfoundlandMusic
©2016 ~ Used with permission ~

Oh, come on you loyal heroes
wherever you may be,
Don't hire with any master till
you know what your work will be;
For you must rise up early from
the clear daylight till the dawn,
And I know you'll ne'er be able
to plough the rocks of bawn.

Well, it's rise up, lovely Sweeney,
and give your horse some hay,
Yes, give him a good feed of oats
before you ride away;
Don't feed him on soft turnips,
put him out on your green lawn,
And I know you'll ne'er be able
to plough the rocks of bawn.

Well, my curse upon you, Sweeney,
for you have me nearly robbed,
A-sittin' by the fireside
with your dudeen in your gob;
You're sitting by the fireside
from the clear daylight till the dawn,
And I know you'll ne'er be able
to plough the rocks of bawn.

Now my shoes they are well worn out,
and my stockings they are thin,
My heart is always trembling
for fear that you let in;
Yes, my heart is always trembling
from the clear daylight till the dawn,
And I know you'll ne'er be able
to plough the rocks of bawn.

Now, I wish the queen of England
would write to me in time,
And put me in some regiment
all in my youth and prime;
I'd fight for Ireland's glory
from the clear daylight till the dawn,
And I never would return again
to plough the rocks of bawn.
No, 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 ....####
The lyrics and the video above are from a variant arranged and recorded 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.

A variant was arranged and recorded as The Rocks Of Bawn 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.

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Dudeen - short-stemmed tobacco pipe, similar to an Irish dudee made of clay.

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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