Henry Joy McCracken

Lyric as sung by Dick Gaughan

An Ulsterman I am proud to be
From the Antrim Glens I come.
Though I earn my living by the sea
I have followed fife and drum.
I have heard the martial tramp of men
I've seen them fight and die.
It's well I do remember when
I followed Henry Joy.

I pulled my boat up from the sea
I hid my sails away,
I hung my nets on a greenwood tree
And scanned the moonlit bay.
The boys were out, and the Redcoats too,
I kissed my wife goodbye;
And in the shade of the greenwood glade
I followed Henry Joy.

It was for Ireland's cause we fought;
In Ireland's cause we bled,
Though our hearts beat true, our pikes were few
And five to one lay dead,
And many a lassie mourned her lad,
And mother mourned her boy;
For youth was strong in that gallant throng
That followed Henry Joy.

In Belfast town, they built a tree
And the Redcoats mustered there
I saw him come to the beat of a drum
Down to the barrack's square
He kissed his sister, went aloft
He bade his last goodbye
And as he died, I turned and cried
They have murdered Henry Joy!

Song Notes

Henry Joy McCracken, an Ulster Presbyterian, was co-writer of the 1791 Declaration of the United Irishmen and one of the leaders of the 1798 attempt at revolution.

See also Florence Wilson's wonderful poem in Ulster Scots about the '98 revolution, The Man From God-Knows Where

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