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The Youth that Belonged to Milltown
(Roud 16257)
Austin Flanagan
Luogh, Doolin
Recorded in singer's home, July 1974

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Last week as the newspaper tells us,
How an Irishman did sail away.
He notes for to meet with employment,
As thousands before him did stray.

Yet it’s all for to travel through England,
For labour to seek up and down.
But he never denied where he came from,
In Derry a place called Milltown.

One evening as he walked out through London,
He met with John Bull on his way.
And just as he was rounding the corner,
He stood and those words he did say:

‘Good evening Pat, where are you bound for?
Or when did you land on our shore?
Or are you some of the Fenians
We had had here in the year sixtyfour?’

Says Pat, ‘Do not speak about Fenians.’
As he looked at John Bull in surprise.
‘Do you remember the last words of Emmet?
And they were the cause of great noise.

Or is it because I’m from Ireland
By our larking you do want me frown?
But remember you have met the wrong hero.’
Says the youth that belonged to Milltown

Says John Bull, ‘Ye stray from yere country.
Likewise ye do go away,
To America, Queensland, Australia,
You’re never tired crossing the sea.

Why don’t you be sometimes contented?
And the living to make of your own.
Like those that you see here all round you,
That never went a mile from their home.’

Says Pat, ‘We must go from our country
While the oppression rolls over us all.
But tell me who’s the right owner
To the land where the green shamrock grow?

Or is because I’m from Ireland
By our larking you do want me frown,
But remember you have met the wrong hero,
Said the youth that belonged to Milltown.’

Says John Bull, ‘A stranger, you’re saucy.
No doubt but your expressions are great.
Do you see how we did beat the Russians?
The Ozulus we did them the same.

We conquer all earth and before us,
Like thunder our cannons did roar.
Sure we made proud Napoleon surrender,
When he exiled to a far distant shore.’

Says Pat, ‘You may boast of your money,
And soldiers Irish men all.
I would stay only but for them,
A battle you never would gain.’

Says John Bull, ‘A stranger, you’re saucy.
No doubt but your expressions are great.
We had a man here from your country
And that was the year sixtynine [twentynine].

Whether right or wrong was the question,
Ye men for to jink out the game.
Daniel O’Connell they called him,
From Derry in Kerry he came.’

Says Pat, ‘He was born in Carhen
Where the old ruins today can be seen,
Just by the brink of the waters,
Convening to Caherciveen.

He was the king of our country,
With his shamrock, his harp and his crown.
May God rest his soul, he’s in heaven,
Says 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 Martin Reidy

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