John Mitchell


I am a true-born Irishman, John Mitchel is my name
When first I joined my comrades, from Newry town I came
I laboured hard both day and night to free my native land
For which I was transported unto Van Dieman´s Land

When first I joined my countrymen, it was in ´42
And what did happen after that, I´ll quickly tell to you
I raised the standard of repeal, I gloried in the deed
I vowed to heaven I ne´er would rest till old Ireland would be freed

Farewell my gallant comrades, it grieves my heart full sore
To think that I must part from you, perhaps for evermore
The love I bear my native land, I know no other crime
This is the reason I must go into a foreign clime

As I lay in strong irons bound, before my trial day
My loving wife came to my cell and thus to me did say
“Oh, John, my dear, cheer up your heart, undaunted always be
For it´s better to die for Erin´s rights than live in slavery”

I was placed on board a convict ship without the least delay
For Bermuda´s Isle our course was steered: I´ll ne´er forget the day
As I stood upon the deck to take a farewell view
I shed a tear, but not for fear, my native land, for you.

Adieu, Adieu, to sweet Belfast, and likewise Dublin too
And to my young and tender babes; alas, what will they do ?
But there´s one request I ask of you, when your liberty you gain
Remember John Mitchel far away, though a convict bound in chains

Down 1

Songs of Down


Tried for sedition in 1848, he was deported to Bermuda, and later to the penal colony in Van Diemen’s Land. He escaped from the colony in 1853 and secured passage to America. A supporter of slavery, he founded three newspapers before returning to Ireland where he was elected MP for Tipperary in 1875. However, as a convicted felon, he could not take his seat in parliament. He died later that year.

Clip – Reg Keating



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