“The Boyne Water (II)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1845 (Duffy)
Keywords: battle Ireland royalty rebellion drink
Found in: Ireland US(SE)

Description

"July the First, of a morning clear, on thousand six hundred and ninety, King William did his men prepare...." The forces of James and William clash; Schomberg is killed; William's forces win the battle; Protestants are urged to plaise God

Supplemental text

Boyne Water (II), The
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

The Boyne Water

From Charles Gavan Duffy, editor, The Ballad Poetry of Ireland (1845),
pp. 248-249, "The Boyne Water"

July the First, of a morning clear, one thousand six hundred and ninety,
King William did his men prepare, of thousands he had thirty;
To fight King James and all his foes, encamped near the Boyne Water,
He little feared, though two to one, their multitudes to scatter.

King William called his officers, saying, "Gentlemen, mind your station,
And let your valour here be shown before this Irish nation;
My brazen walls let no man break, and your subtle foes you'll scatter,
Be sure you show them good English play as you go over the water."

 .  .  .  .  .  .
 
Both foot and horse they marched on, intending them to batter,
But the brave Duke Schomberg he was shot, as he crossed over the water.
When that King William he observed the brave Duke Schomberg falling,
He rein'd his horse, with a heavy heart, on the Enniskilleners calling:

"What will you do for me brave boys, see yonder men retreating,
Our enemies encouraged are--and English drums are beating;"
He says, "my boys, feel no dismay at the losing of one commander
For God shall be our king this day, and I'll be general under." *

  .  .  .  .  .  .

Within four yards of our fore-front, before a shot was fired,
A sudden snuff they got that day, which little they desired;
For horse and man fell to the ground, and some hung in their saddles,
Others turn'd up their forked ends, which we call coup de ladle.

Prince Eugene's regiment was the next, on our right hand advanced,
Into a field of standing wheat, where Irish horses pranced--
But the brandy ran so in their heads, their senses all did scatter,
They little thought to leave their bones that day at the Boyne Water.

Both men and horse lay on the ground and many there lay bleeding,
I saw no sickles there that day--but sure, there was sharp shearing.

  .  .  .  .  .  .

Now, praise God, all true Protestants, and heaven's and earth's Creator,
For the deliverance that he sent our enemies to scatter.
The church's foes will pine away, like churlish-hearted Nabal,
For our deliverer came this day like the great Zorobabel.

So praise God, all true Protestants, and I will say no further,
But had the Papists gain'd the day, there would have been open murder.
Although King James and many more was ne'er that way inclined,
It was not in their power to stop what the rabble they designed. 

(Stanzas 1,2,4,5,11,15,14(frag),19,20 of 20, based on OrangeLark 9)

* OrangeLark 9 stanza 5:
"What will you do for me brave boys! yonder's our men retreating,
Our enemies encouraged are, our English drums are beating
I'll go before and lead you on--boys, use your hands full nimble;
With the help of God, we'll beat them all, and make their hearts to tremble."

Long description

July the First, of a morning clear," 1690, King William and 30000 men faced King James near the Boyne. They advanced to "Lillibalero." When Duke Schomberg was killed William said, "my boys, feel no dismay at the losing of one commander For God shall be our king this day, and I'll be general under." William's forces formed a body bridge to cross the Boyne. Dermot Roe fled. Lord Galmoy advanced but "never three from ten of them escaped." The French were battered. Prince Eugene advanced against James's forces who ran away because "the brandy ran so in their heads." The Enniskillen men were restrained from following the fleeing Jacobite forces; in contrast, though James would have tried to restrain them, "had the Papists gain'd the day, there would have been open murder."

Notes

"[On the Duleek road during the retreat,] there was a small riot when some men broke ranks and smashed open barrels of spirits and proceeded in a number of cases to become very drunk" (source: Michael McNally, _Battle of the Boyne 1690: the Irish Campaign for the English Crown_ (Oxford, 2005), p.86). For another ballad with the theme of drink after a loss see "The Boys of Wexford."

Viscount Galmoy's mounted regiment joined the French brigade, Maxwell's dragoons and Sarsfield's horse. When James left the field Sarsfield's and Maxwell's regiments were sent to protect him, leaving Galmoy's among the inadequate force left to counteract the Williamite cavalry. (source: McNally, p. 86)

I found no reference in McNally to McDermott Roe or Prince Eugene of Savoy in this battle. [Since McDermott Roe lived in the era of the Defenders, a century after the Boyne, he obviously was not there. Eugene was at least alive at this time, but he was making his reputation in Italy at the time. I think this is an extended confusion -- Eugene worked with Marlborough, and Marlborough with William III and Anne. - RBW]

Of the songs collected since Duffy I know of only one that is clearly the "old version." Art Rosenbaum, in _Folk Visions & Voices_ (1983) prints "King William, Duke Shambo, collected in Georgia in 1980 (p. 65).

The last two verses of Hayward-Ulster, pp. 117-119, "The Battle of the Boyne" [version I] are from "the old version": the Prince Eugene reference and "Now, praise God, all true Protestants...." - BS

For background on the Battle of the Boyne, see "The Battle of the Boyne (I)." For the relationship between this song and "The Boyne Water (I)" (which are much confused because both begin "July the First" and refer to many of the same events), see the notes to "The Boyne Water (I)." - RBW

Historical references

Cross references

References

  1. OrangeLark 9, "The Boyne Water" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Hayward-Ulster, pp. 117-119, "The Battle of the Boyne" (1 text, mixing this and "The Boyne Water (I)")
  3. PGalvin, pp. 14-15, "The Battle of the Boyne" (1 text)
  4. Graham, p. 8, "The Boyne Water" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. ADDITIONAL: Charles Gavan Duffy, editor, The Ballad Poetry of Ireland (1845), pp. 248-249, "The Boyne Water"
  6. Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), pp. 249-250, "The Boyne Water"
  7. H. Halliday Sparling, Irish Minstrelsy (London, 1888), pp. 13-14, 448-450, "The Boyne Water"
  8. Charles Sullivan, ed., Ireland in Poetry, pp. 105-106, "The Boyne Water" (1 text)
  9. Thomas Kinsella, _The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse_ (Oxford, 1989), pp. 179-180, "The Boyne Water" (1 text)
  10. ST PGa014 (Partial)
  11. Roud #795
  12. BI, PGa014