Croppy Boy 2


Good men and true in this house who dwell
To a stranger buachaill I pray you tell
Is the Priest at home or may he be seen
I would speak a word with Father Green

The youth has entered an empty hall
Where a lonely sound has his light footfall
And the gloomy chamber’s cold and bare
With a vested Priest in a lonely chair.

The youth has knelt to tell his sins
“Nomine Dei,” the youth begins
At “mea culpa,” he beats his breast
Then in broken murmurs he speaks the rest

At the siege of Ross did my father fall
And at Gorey my loving brothers all
I alone am left to my name and race
I will go to Wexford to take their place

I cursed three times since last Easter day
And at Mass-time once I went to play
I passed the churchyard one day in haste
And forgot to pray for my Mother’s rest

I bear no hate against living thing
But I love my country above my King
Now Father, bless me and let me go
To die, if God has ordained it so

The Priest said naught, but a rustling noise
Made the youth look up in a wild surprise
The robes were off, and in scarlet there
Sat a yeoman captain with fiery glare

With fiery glare and with fury hoarse
Instead of a blessing he breathed a curse
‘Twas a good thought, boy, to come here and shrive
For one short hour is your time to live

Upon yon river three tenders float
The Priest’s on one, if he isn’t shot
We hold this house for our Lord and King
And amen, I say, may all traitors swing

At Geneva Barracks that young man died
And at Passage they have his body laid
Good people who live in peace and joy
Breathe a prayer, shed a tear for the Croppy Boy

Wexford 1

Songs of Wexford


This version of ‘The Croppy Boy’ by Carroll Malone first appeared in the Irish newspaper The Nation in 1845 and tells of a young man who stops in a church on his way to fight. He sees a cloaked figure in a confessional and kneels for the penitential rite. The figure is actually a British soldier who sought refuge from rebels by hiding in the confessional. After the youth completes his confession, the soldier reveals himself and proceeds to arrest the youth and take him to prison and execution. The legend is the subject of Canadian artist Charlotte Schreiber’s painting The Croppy Boy (The Confession of an Irish Patriot), now in the National Gallery of Canada.


Charlotte Schreiber’s ‘The Croppy Boy’



Song Themes

1798 Rebellion