Lamentation of Hugh Reynolds


My name it is Hugh Reynolds, I come from honest parents
Near Cavan I was born, as plainly you may see
By loving of a maid, one Catherine MacCabe
My life has been betrayed; she’s a dear maid to me

The country were bewailing my doleful situation
But still I’d expectation this maid would set me free
But oh, she was ungrateful, her parents proved deceitful
And though I loved her faithful, she’s a dear maid to me

Young men and tender maidens, throughout this Irish nation
Who hear my lamentation, I hope you’ll pray for me
The truth I will unfold, that my precious blood she sold
In the grave I must lie cold; she’s a dear maid to me

For now my glass it is run and the hour it is come
And I must die for love and the height of loyalty
I thought it was no harm to embrace her in my arms
Or take her from her parents; but she’s a dear maid to me

Adieu my loving father, and you, my tender mother
Farewell my dearest brother, who has suffered sore for me
With irons I’m surrounded, in grief I lie confounded
By perjury unbounded; she’s a dear maid to me

Now I can say no more, to the gallows I must go
There to take the last farewell of my friends and country
May the angels shining bright, receive my soul this night
And convey me into heaven to the blessed Trinity


The Reynolds and McCabes were Catholic families from County Cavan who were engaged in a feud over ‘a bit of land.’ Complications set in when Hugh Reynolds and Catherine McCabe became lovers. Catherine’s uncle had Reynolds charged with abduction, a capital offence at that time. He pressurized Catherine into perjury, and Reynolds was convicted. He was hanged in 1826. Catherine died soon afterwards of a broken heart, and the McCabes are said to have been beset by ‘Divine vengeance’.



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