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The Youth that Belonged to Milltown
(Roud 16257)
Martin Reidy
Tullaghaboy, Connolly
Recorded in singer's home, June 1978

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Martin Reidy

Last week as the newspaper tells us,
An Irishman did sail away
In hopes for to seek for employment,
As thousands long before him did stray.

He resolved for to travel through England
For labour to seek up and down,
And he never denied where he came from;
In Kerry, a place called Milltown.

As he passed the other day down through London,
He met with John Bull on his way.
As the youth stepped along by the corner
John stopped, and these words he did say:

‘Good evening, Pat, where are you bound for?
Or when did you land on our shore?
Or do you belong to the Fenians
That we had in the year sixtyfour?’

Said the youth, ‘Do not speak about Fenians,’
As he looked on John Bull with surprise,
‘But remember the last words of Emmet,
For that was the cause of great noise.

And is it because I’m from Ireland
That you’re larking on me with a frown?
But remember you met the wrong hero,’
Said the youth that belonged to Milltown.

Says John Bull, ‘Why don’t you remain in your own country,
And sometime make a home of your own?
Like those you see here all around you
That ne’er went a mile from their home?

Or why not you be sometimes contented?
Like wild geese you are flying away,
To America, Queensland and New Zealand,
You’re never tired of crossing the sea.’

Said the youth, ‘How can I remain in my own country
While oppression rolls over us all?
Will you tell me who is the right owner
Of the land where the green shamrock grows?

But as long as the green flag is waving
An Irishman won’t be cut down,
For Charles Stewart Parnell is our leader,’
Said the youth that belonged to Milltown.

Says John Bull, ‘Young man, you’re saucy
There is no doubt but you’re expressions are great.
And see how we did beat the Russians,
All nations we did them defeat.

We conquered all on earth came before us
Like thunder our cannon do roar,
And we made proud Napoleon surrender
An exiled to a far distant shore.’

Said the youth, ‘You may boast of your money,
Your soldiers being brave Irishmen.
And only for that, I am sure
A battle you never would win.

Will you show me one game won by honour,
The sword in the field has cut down?
You were too fond of spies and informers;’
Said the youth that belonged to Milltown.

Said John Bull, ‘I am now tired of speaking,
To give over I think ‘tis near time;
And we had a man here from your country,
And that was the year twentynine.

Whether right or the wrong was the question
He would try for to jink out the game,
And Daniel O’Connell they called him
And remember ‘tis from Kerry he came.’

Said the youth, ‘He was born in Carhen,
The old ruins today can be seen
Enclosed by the brink of the water,
Convenient to Caherciveen.

He was long the great king of our country
The harp and the shamrock crown,
And may God rest his soul, he’s in heaven,’
Said the youth that belonged to Milltown.

‘This takes the form of a dialogue between John Bull and Pat, an Irish emigrant, both of them symbolic figures. John Bull accuses Pat of being a troublemaking malcontent and demands to know why he didn’t stay at home. Pat, in return, denies the accusations and invokes great names in Irish history - Emmett, Parnell and O’Connell - as evidence of his worthiness. The only published texts of this we could find were in 'The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin', where the words only are given, and in an obituary article on Martin Reidy in Dal gCais magazine, 1986.’

Reference:
The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin, Dáibhí Ó Cróinín.
The Long Song Singer, Tom Munnelly, Dal gCais, 1986.
Jim Carroll


See also
The Youth That Belonged to Milltown sung by Austin Flanagan

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