“Croppies Lie Down (I)”


"We soldiers of Erin, so proud of the name, Will raise upon Rebels and Frenchmen our fame... and make all the traitors and croppies lie down." The rebels murder parsons and women but run from soldiers. If the French land they'll lie with the croppies.


According to Robert Kee, _The Most Distressful Country_, being Volume I of _The Green Flag_, pp. 98-99, this was "popular among the Orange yeomanry," i.e. the militia forces (not all of them Protestant, we should note) raised by the British to control the 1798 rebellion.

The ascription to "Captain Ryan" is interesting at the least. Obviously there could be several "Captain Ryans" -- but the one mentioned in the histories is one of the two men who tried to arrest Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and mortally wounded in the process (see the notes to "Edward (III) (Edward Fitzgerald)"). - RBW

Moylan: "It was for playing this tune on the pipes that the unfortunate William Johnson was murdered at Scullabogue along with over one hundred others."

The ballad is recorded on one of the CD's issued around the time of the bicentenial of the 1798 Irish Rebellion. See:

Sean Tyrrell, "Croppies Lie Down" (on "The Croppy's Complaint," Craft Recordings CRCD03 (1998); Terry Moylan notes) - BS

For background on Scullabogue, see the notes to "Father Murphy (II) (The Wexford Men of '98)." None of the sources I've seen attribute the massacre to someone playing a pipe tune, though -- it was based on false information heard about the Battle of New Ross (for which see, e.g., "Kelly, the Boy from Killane"). - RBW

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 25(448), "Croppies Lie Down" ("We soldiers of Erin, so proud of the name"), unknown, n.d.; also Harding B 22(56), Harding B 11(3852), "Croppies Lie Down"; Harding B 16(253c), "The Soldier's Delight" or "Croppies Lie Down"


  1. Zimmermann 94A, "Croppies Lie Down" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Moylan 76, "Croppies Lie Down" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. BI, Zimm094A


Author: Captain Ryan (Source: Zimmermann)
Earliest date: 1798 (_Constitutional Songs_, according to Zimmermann)
Found in: Ireland