Thursday, September 28, 2006

This Is A Rebel Song

Get used to them. People are going to be oppressed by these laws our spineless Congress is passing. People will be tortured. Even John McCain will tell you (I've heard him say this in person) between torture sessions people will try to keep their spirits up by singing.

The rebellion sung about in this song from Ireland failed. It was to be a general rising. It wasn't about Catholic or Protestant. Wolfe Tone, the leader of this one was a Protestant. Even the dour Presbyterians of Ulster were horrified by the British policies. Which included, detention without charges, representation, torture, dispossession, secret courts, "drumhead" courts martial. Any of that sound familiar kids?

This rebellion failed. Only a fraction of the promised French troops arrived, and they arrived late. You may ask why there is such a triumphant tone and attitude in the lyrics of this song. If you didn't know the history you might think the Irish had succeeded in their rebellion. Eventually they did succeed. It just took a little more than a hundred years more. For a hundred and twenty years Irish patriots (that's a terrorist who wins eventually, you know, like Sam Adams or Francis Marion) would sing this song and remember The British Can Be Beaten.

The tune is Old Rosin The Bow.

When you honor in song and in story
The names of the patriot men
Whose valor has covered with glory
Full many a mountain and glen
Forget not the boys of the heather
Who rallied their bravest and best
When Ireland was broken in Wexford
And looked for revenge to the West

I give you the gallant old West, boys
Where rallied our bravest and best
When Ireland lay broken and bleeding;
Hurrah for the men of the West!

The hilltops with glory were glowing
'Twas the eve of a bright harvest day
When the ship we'd been wearily waiting
Sailed into Killala's broad bay
And over the hills went the slogan
To awaken in every breast
The fire that has never been quenched, boys
Among the true hearts of the West


Killala was ours ere the midnight
And high over Ballina town
Our banners in triumph were waving
Before the next sun had gone down
We gathered to speed the good work, boys
The true men from near and afar
And history can tell how we routed
The redcoats through old Castlebar


And pledge me the stout sons of France, boys
Bold Humbert and all his brave men
Whose tramp, like the trumpet of battle
Brought hope to the drooping again
Since Ireland has caught to her bosom
On many a mountain and hill
The gallants who fell, so they're here, boys
To cheer us to victory still


Though all the bright dreamings we cherished
Went down in disaster and woe
The spirit of old is still with us
That never would bend to the foe
And Connacht is ready whenever
The loud rolling tuck of the drum
Rings out to awaken the echoes
And tell us the morning has come


I imagine that somewhere in some secret dungeon, one prisoner is singing to another between rounds of torture. They are remembering fondly a day when, by the side of the road, a bomb blew up and a few more of the hated invaders of their country lay dying. They are singing and thinking to themselves "These Americans Can Be Beaten."
Get used to rebel music, we are going to be hearing a lot of it over the next several years.

crossposted at 3B's


Blogger pissed off patricia said...

What a hell of week this has been for all of us and god only know what the future holds for us and our country.

I'm kind of emotionally whipped. Can't even seem to concentrate on anything. Is that a sign of stress? I got a feeling I'm not alone.

Have a very nice weekend :)

7:47 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

you too m'dear. hope your critters next door do alright with the 'dozers.

10:12 AM  
Blogger TFLS said...

I'm stressed too. It's hard to write. It’s hard to do much of anything, really. This weekend we are finally painting the library, probably doing some baking and I have every intention of playing with the kittens. Hopefully this will help me recover from the week. And of course - there will be music - though I doubt even the most optimistic of Irish fight songs could temper the depression I feel right now.

9:58 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i've gotten more into a show that i've been working on for a while. it's historical song stuff. working title is "songs that would get you hung" i'm still trying to figure out if it is a concert style show or more of a history/review. i'm playing around with the structure and stuff seeing what works. i'm talking with ASU music and theatre departments about maybe taking an artist in residence grant to work on it full time for a few months. we shall see. the more draconian and fascist these assholes get the more a show like that might strike a nerve.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for a truly protestant perspective check out

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3:55 PM  

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