Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
135. The Irish Rapparees
By Charles Gavan Duffy
RIGH SHEMUS he has gone to France, and left his crown behind;
Ill luck be theirs, both day and night, put running in his mind
Lord Lucan followed after, with his Slashers brave and true,
And now the doleful keen is raised—“What will poor Ireland do?
What must poor Ireland do?        5
Our luck,” they say, “has gone to France—what can poor Ireland do?”
Oh! never fear for Ireland, for she has soldiers still;
For Rory’s boys are in the wood, and Remy’s on the hill;
And never had poor Ireland more loyal hearts than these—
May God be kind and good to them, the faithful Rapparees        10
The fearless Rapparees!
The jewel were you, Rory, with your Irish Rapparees!
Oh, black’s your heart, Clan Oliver, and colder than the clay!
Oh, high’s your head, Clan Sassenach, since Sarsfield’s gone away!
It’s little love you bear to us, for the sake of long ago        15
But hold your hand, for Ireland still can strike a deadly blow—
Can strike a mortal blow—
Och, dar-a-Críost ’tis she that still
Could strike a deadly blow.
The Master’s bawn, the Master’s seat, a surly bodagh fills;        20
The Master’s son, an outlawed man, is riding on the hills.
But God be praised that round him throng, as thick as summer bees,
The swords that guarded Limerick wall—his faithful Rapparees!
His loving Rapparees!
Who dare say “no” to Rory Oge, with all his Rapparees?        25
Black Billy Grimes of Latnamard, he racked us long and sore—
God rest the faithful hearts he broke!—we’ll never see them more
But I’ll go bail he’ll break no more, while Truagh has gallows trees;
For why?—he met one lonely night, the fearless Rapparees
The angry Rapparees!        30
They never sin no more, my boys, who cross the Rapparees.
Now, Sassenach and Cromweller, take heed of what I say—
Keep down your black and angry looks, that scorn us night and day:
For there’s a just and wrathful Judge, that every action sees,
And He’ll make strong, to right our wrong, the faithful Rapparees!        35
The fearless Rapparees!
The men that rode by Sarsfield’s side, the roving Rapparees!
See the note on the “Ballad of Douglas Bridge.” The author of “The Irish Rapparees” makes the following note on his poem: “When Limerick was surrendered, and the bulk of the Irish army took service with Louis XIV, a multitude of the old soldiers of the Boyne, Aughrim and Limerick preferred remaining in the country at the risk of fighting for their daily bread; and with them some gentlemen, loth to part from their estates or their sweethearts, among whom Redmond O’Hanlon is, perhaps, the most memorable. The English army and the English law drove them by degrees to the hills, where they were long a terror to the new and old settlers from Limerick, and a secret pride and comfort to the trampled peasantry, who loved them even for their excesses. It was all they had left to take pride in.”


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.