“The Saxon Shilling”


The martial parades "dazzled village youths to-day Will crowd to take the Saxon Shilling." Fools sell themselves "to shame and death," "crush the just and brave." "Irish hearts! why should you bleed, To swell the tide of British glory"?


Broadsides Bodleian Harding B 19(68) and Bodleian 2806 c.15(39) are duplicates. The last two lines are identically mangled.

Zimmermann: "The man who enlisted as a soldier was given the 'King's shilling' by a recruiting officer."

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

Franke Harte and Donal Lunny, "The Saxon's Shilling" (on Franke Harte and Donal Lunny, "My Name is Napoleon Bonaparte," Hummingbird Records HBCD0027 (2001)) - BS

One suspects that author Buggy never missed any meals, which was the main reason Irish youth enlisted in the army. Though his source of income certainly wasn't his writing; I have been unable to find anything else he wrote, and he is not mentioned in Patrick C. Power's _A Literary History of Ireland_. - RBW


  • Bodleian, Harding B 19(68), "The Saxion Shilling" [only misspelled in the title], unknown, n.d.; also 2806 c.15(39), "The Saxion Shilling" [only misspelled in the title]


  1. Zimmermann 49, "The Saxon Shilling" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Zimm049


Author: Kevin T. Buggy (Source: Zimmermann)
Earliest date: 1842 ("The song was first printed in the _Belfast Vindicator_ in 1842," according to Zimmermann)
Found in: Ireland