Songs of action


What of the bow?
The bow was made in England:
Of true wood, of yew-wood,
The wood of English bows;
So men who are free
Love the old yew-tree
And the land where the yew-tree grows.

What of the cord?
The cord was made in England:
A rough cord, a tough cord,
A cord that bowmen love;
And so we will sing
Of the hempen string
And the land where the cord was wove.

What of the shaft?
The shaft was cut in England:
A long shaft, a strong shaft,
Barbed and trim and true;
So we’ll drink all together
To the grey goose-feather
And the land where the grey goose flew.

What of the mark?
Ah, seek it not in England,
A bold mark, our old mark
Is waiting over-sea.
When the strings harp in chorus,
And the lion flag is o’er us,
It is there that our mark will be.

What of the men?
The men were bred in England:
The bowmen – the yeomen,
The lads of dale and fell.
Here’s to you – and to you!
To the hearts that are true
And the land where the true hearts dwell.


[The French Army, including a part of the Irish Brigade, under
Marshal Villeroy, held the fortified town of Cremona during the
Winter of 1702. Prince Eugene, with the Imperial Army, surprised it
One morning, and, owing to the treachery of a priest, occupied the
Whole city before the alarm was given. Villeroy was captured,
Together with many of the French garrison. The Irish, however,
Consisting of the regiments of Dillon and of Burke, held a fort
Commanding the river gate, and defended themselves all day, in spite
Of Prince Eugene’s efforts to win them over to his cause. Eventually
Eugene, being unable to take the post, was compelled to withdraw from
The city.]

The Grenadiers of Austria

are proper men and tall;
The Grenadiers of Austria have scaled the city wall;
They have marched from far away
Ere the dawning of the day,
And the morning saw them masters of Cremona.

There’s not a man to whisper, there’s not a horse to neigh;
Of the footmen of Lorraine and the riders of Dupres,
They have crept up every street,
In the market-place they meet,
They are holding every vantage in Cremona.

The Marshal Villeroy he has started from his bed;
The Marshal Villeroy has no wig upon his head;
‘I have lost my men!’ quoth he,
‘And my men they have lost me,
And I sorely fear we both have lost Cremona.’

Prince Eugene of Austria is in the market-place;
Prince Eugene of Austria has smiles upon his face;
Says he, ‘Our work is done,
For the Citadel is won,
And the black and yellow flag flies o’er Cremona.’

Major Dan O’Mahony is in the barrack square,
And just six hundred Irish lads are waiting for him there;
Says he, ‘Come in your shirt,
And you won’t take any hurt,
For the morning air is pleasant in Cremona.’

Major Dan O’Mahony is at the barrack gate,
And just six hundred Irish lads will neither stay nor wait;
There’s Dillon and there’s Burke,
And there’ll be some bloody work
Ere the Kaiserlics shall boast they hold Cremona.

Major Dan O’Mahony has reached the river fort,
And just six hundred Irish lads are joining in the sport;
‘Come, take a hand!’ says he,
‘And if you will stand by me,
Then it’s glory to the man who takes Cremona!’

Prince Eugene of Austria has frowns upon his face,
And loud he calls his Galloper of Irish blood and race:
‘MacDonnell, ride, I pray,
To your countrymen, and say
That only they are left in all Cremona!’

MacDonnell he has reined his mare beside the river dyke,
And he has tied the parley flag upon a sergeant’s pike;
Six companies were there

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Songs of action