OLD SKIBBEREEN

 

Oh father dear I often hear you speak of Erin's Isle
Her lofty scenes, her valleys green, her mountains rude and wild
They say it is a lovely land where in a prince might dwell
Oh why did you abandon it, the reason to me tell.

Oh, son I loved me native land with energy and pride
Till a blight came o'er me crops-me sheep, me cattle died
Me rent and taxes were too high, I could not them redeem
And that's the cruel reason that I left old Skibbereen.

Oh, well do I remember the bleak December day
The landlord and the sheriff came to drive us all away
They set me roof on fire with cursed English spleen
And that's another reason that I left old Skibbereen.

Your mother too, God rest her soul, fell on the snowy ground
She fainted in her anguish, seeing the desolation round
She never rose, but passed away from life to mortal dream
And found a quiet grave, me boy, in dear old Skibbereen.

And you were only two years old and feeble was your frame
I couldn't leave you with me friends, you bore your father's name
I wrapt you in me cotamore at the dead of night unseen
I heaved a sigh and bade good-bye, to dear old Skibbereen.

Oh, father dear, the day may come when in answer to the call
Each Irishman, with feeling stern, will rally one and all
I'll be the man to lead the van, beneath the flag of green
When loud and high we'll raise the cry- 'Remember Skibbereen'.

Note:this Ballad was written after the Irish Famine, when many people were forced by starvation due to blight in the potato crop, to emigrate to the U.S.A.