“The Defender's Song”


The singer, "a Defender and a member of the Church of Rome," is banished from his home by "Luthers black and Calvin crew." He flees to the mountains. He recalls Christ's travails. He considers the despair of Calvinists: "their compass needle it is broke"


Tunney-StoneFiddle pp. 134-135 shares its first verse and theme with "The Banished Defender" but the remaining verses are entirely different.

Zimmermann p. 19: "In some parts of Ulster, Protestant and Catholic tenants were mingled and contended for the land; the peasantry was thus divided into two camps, each having its oath-bound association. This led to a sort of religious war. At the end of the eighteenth century the Catholic "Defenders" were opposed to the Protestant "Peep o'Day Boys" or "Orangemen." The "Defenders were succeeded by the "Ribbonmen" - BS

An irony of this song is that, while there were Calvinists in Ulster (the Presbyterian church is Calvinist), the main force of Protestantism in Ireland was the Anglican church, which is neither Lutheran (Protestant) nor Calvinist (Reformed); Anglicanism is third major branch to split off from the Church of Rome.

The Calvinist despair is, I assume, based on their extreme doctrine of predestination, which holds that no amount of effort to do right can save a person; it depends entirely on God's grace (or God's whim, as it appears to non-Calvinists). This position is summed up in the Reformed faith's "TULIP" acronym, affirmed at the Synod of Dort: Total depravity, Uncondition election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the Saints.

To show why all of this is relevant to Ireland: Cromwell, who did more than anyone (including even William III) to destroy Irish society, could well be called a Calvinist's Calvinist. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Tunney-StoneFiddle, pp. 134-135, "The Defender's Song" (1 text)
  2. BI, TSF134


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1953 (Tunney-StoneFiddle)
Keywords: Ireland religious exile
Found in: Ireland