By Patrick Carpenter
Air: ‘The Wearing of the Green’
A Young American and his Irish Father
“O! father, dear, I’ve often heard you speak of Erin’s Isle –
Its scenes how bright and beautiful, how “rich and rare” they smile;
You say it is a lovely land in which a Prince might dwell,
Then why did you abandon it, the reason to me tell?”
“My Son, I’ve loved my native land with fervour and with pride –
Her peaceful groves, her mountains rude, her valleys green and wide,
And there I’ve roamed in manhood’s prime, and sported when a boy,
My Shamrock and shillelagh sure my constant boast and Joy.
“But lo! A blight came o’er my crops, my sheep and cattle died,
The rack-rent too, alas! was due I could not have supplied;
The landlord drove me from my cot where born I had been,
And that, my boy’s the reason why I left old Skibbereen –
“O! what a dreadful sight it was that dark November day;
The Sheriff and the Peelers came to send us all away;
They set the roof a-blazing with a demon smile of spleen,
And when it fell, the crash was heard all over Skibbereen.
“Your Mother dear, God rest her, fell upon the snowy ground,
She fainted in her anguish at the desolation round; –
She never rose, but passed away from life’s tumultuous scene,
And found a quiet grave to rest in poor old Skibbereen.
“Ah! I sadly recall that year of gloomy ’48;
I rose in vengeance with “the boys” to battle against fate;
We were hunted thro’ the mountains wild, as traitors to the Queen, –
And that, my boy’s the reason why I left old Skibbereen.
“You then were only two years old, and feeble was your frame,
I would not leave you with my friends – you bore my father’s name! –
I wrapped you in my ‘Catamore’ at dead of night unseen,
Then heav’d a sigh, and bade good-by to poor old Skibbereen.
“O! Father, Father, when the day for vengeance we will call, –
When Irishmen o’er field and fen shall rally one and all, –
I’ll be the man to lead the van beneath the flag of green,
While loud on high we’ll raise the cry – Revenge for Skibbereen!”