“When He Who Adores Thee”


The singer states "though guilty to them [my foes], I have been but too faithful to thee [Ireland]!" "Oh! blessed are the lovers and friends who shall live The days of thy glory to see"; next best "is the pride of thus dying for thee"


Moylan: "In this song Moore paraphrases parts of Emmet's speech from the dock and has him address these sentiments to Ireland."

You can find copies of Emmet's speech on the Web. See, for example, "Robert Emmet's Speech from the Dock (Document)" quoted on wiki.politics.ie site from "Politics.ie, the Irish politics website." None of Moore's text follows Emmet's, though Emmet is speaking over the court's head: "if there is a true Irishman present let my last words cheer him in the hour of his affliction." - BS

We should probably note that there is no official transcript of Emmet's speech (see Robert Kee, _The Most Distressful Country_, being volume I of _The Green Flag_, p. 168). We don't know his precise words. It hardly matters, any more than it matters that his rebellion was ill-organized and completely inept; he could hardly have said anything more effective than what was reported, and it was that which kept his myth alive.

Moore, we should add, knew Emmet; according to Kee, Moore was "Emmet's old friend and fellow student at Trinity." Kee regards Moore as having "set the tone" for Emmet's legend. - RBW

Historical references

  • Sep 20, 1803 - Robert Emmet (1778-1803) is hanged

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Firth b.27(14), "When He Who Adores Thee," unknown, n.d.


  1. Moylan 158, "When He Who Adores Thee" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Moyl158


Author: Thomas Moore (1779-1852) (source: Moylan)
Earliest date: 2000 (Moylan)