“The Battle of the Boyne (II)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: c.1895 (Graham)
Keywords: battle Ireland nonballad patriotic


"July the first, in Oldbridge town ...." "In vain they marched to slaughter;For oh! 'tis lost what William won That day at the Boyne Water" "Fear has lost what valour won" May "days return when men shall prize The deeds of the Boyne Water"


The beginning of the first verse is the beginning of "Boyne Water (I)". Home Rule for Ireland had been defeated in 1885 and 1893; is this about fear of its approach? (See, for example, "A Loyal Song Against Home Rule.") - BS

Alternately, perhaps, it's a reference to the elimination of the Protestant Ascendency, under which Catholics were required to pay tithes to support the Protestant clergy (for which see, e.g., "The Downfall of Heresy").. The answer probably depends on the date of the song. The Church was disestablished in 1869. The Home Rule issue came up soon after; it never passed in the nineteenth century, because any time the Liberals came close to putting it through, the Conservatives would win an election and suppress the matter. But that made it a constant irritant to the people of Ulster. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Graham, p. 9, "The Battle of the Boyne" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Grah009