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Emmet’s Farewell
(Roud 5224)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded 1982

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Tom Lenihan

Farewell love, farewell love, I’m now going to leave you,
The pale moon is shining its last beams on me.
The truth I declare that I ne’er would deceive you,
For next to my heart was green Erin and thee.

Draw near to my bosom, my first and fond true love,
And cherish the heart that beats only for thee.
And let my cold grave with green laurel be strewed love.
I died for my country, green Erin, and thee.

Oh, never again in the moonlight we’ll roam love,
When birds are at rest and the stars they do shine.
Oh never again will I kiss your sweet lips, love,
Or wander by streamlet with hands pressed on thine.

But should another love, oh make you forget me,
Will you give me one promise before that I’ll die?
That you’ll come to my grave when all others forget me,
And there with the soft winds breathe sigh for sigh.

My hour is approaching, let me take the last look love,
And watch your beauty till my soul does depart.
Let your ringlets fall on my face and my brow, love,
Draw near till I press thee to my fond and true heart.

Farewell love, farewell love, the words are now spoken,
The pale moon is shining its last beams on me.
Farewell love, farewell love, I hear the deaths token,
Never more in this world young Emmet you’ll see.

"Robert Emmett, who was executed in 1803 for his part in an abortive uprising which took place earlier that year, inspired several songs. This one takes the form of a ‘goodnight ballad’, a genre of song long established in England, where a condemned man employed a ‘broadside hack’ to take down the details of his life and turn them into verse form ; they were often sold on song-sheets at public hangings. According to the writer, Daniel Defoe, the term ‘goodnight ballad’ originated from the practice of those viewing the execution calling out ‘goodnight' as the rope tightened around the condemned man’s neck. Tom learned the song from his mother."

Mount Callan Garland Tom Munnelly (ed.) Comhairle Bhéaloideas Eireann 1994

Jim Carroll

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