The boys of Wexford (William Rhys-Herbert)

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  • (Posted 2024-01-31)  CPDL #78950:     
Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2024-01-31).   Score information: Letter, 16 pages, 680 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: The boys of Wexford
Composer: Anonymous (Traditional)
Arranger: William Rhys-Herbert
Lyricist: Robert Dwyer Joyce
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsongFolksong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1909 J. Fischer & Bro.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

In comes the captain’s daughter,
The captain of the Yeos,
Saying “Brave United Irishmen,
We’ll ne’er again be foes.
A thousand pounds I’ll bring
And fly from home with thee,
And dress myself in man’s attire
And fight for liberty.”

We are the boys of Wexford,
Who fought with heart and hand
To burst in twain the galling chain
And free our native land.

I want no gold, my maiden fair,
To fly from home with thee.
Your shining eyes will be my prize,
More dear than gold to me.
I want no gold to nerve my arm
To do a true man’s part—
To free my land I’d gladly give
The red drops of my heart.

And when we left our cabins, boys,
We left with right good will
To see our friends and neighbours
That were at Vinegar Hill!
A young man from our Irish ranks
A cannon he let go;
He slapped it into Lord Mountjoy
A tyrant he laid low!

We bravely fought and conquered
At Ross and Wexford town;
And if we failed to keep them,
’Twas drink that brought us down.
We had no drink beside us
On Tubberneering’s day,
Depending on the long, bright pike,
And well it worked that way.

They came into our country,
Our blood and waste to spill,
But let them weep for Wexford
And think of Oulart Hill;
’Twas drink that still betrayed us
Of them we had no fear,
For everyman could do his part
Like Forth and Shelmalier.

My curse upon all drinking,
It made our hearts full sore,
For bravery won each battle,
But drink lost evermore;
And if for want of leaders
We lost at Vinegar Hill,
We’re ready for another fight
And love our Country still!