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John Mitchel
(Roud 5163)
Vincie Boyle
Mount Scott, Mullagh
Recorded November 2003

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Vincie Boyle

I am a bold true Irishman, John Mitchel is my name.
To join my brave countrymen from Newry first I came;
I struggled hard both night and day to free my native land
For which I was transported, as you may understand.

When first I joined my countrymen it was in fortytwo;
And then what followed after I will now tell to you;
I raised the standard of Repeal, I gloried in the deed;
And I vowed to heaven I ne’er would rest till Erin should be freed.

Farewell my gallant comrades, it grieves my heart full sore,
To think that I must part with you, perhaps for evermore.
The love I bear my native land, I know no other crime;
That is the reason I must go unto a foreign clime.

When in my prison clothes confined, before my trial day,
My loving wife she came to me, and thus to me did say:
‘John, my dear, cheer up your heart, and undaunted do not be,
‘Tis better die for Erin’s rights, than live in slavery.’

I said, ‘My darling girl I am grieved to part with you.
Likewise my young and tender babes alas, what shall they do?
Also my friends and relatives who mourn my sad fall,
But to part with you my native shore, it grieves me more than all.’

When I received my sentence, in irons I was bound,
Thousands of my country men were assembled all around.
I was offered then my liberty, if I’d forsake the cause;
I’d rather die a thousand deaths than forsake my Irish boys.

I was placed on board a convict ship, without the least delay;
For Bermuda’s Isle our course did steer: I shall ne’er forget that day.
When on the deck I gazed around to take a farewell view,
I shed a tear, but not through fear; my native land, for you.

Keep up your courage Irish men your hour is nigh at hand.
For your success I’ll always pray down in a foreign land.
One request I’ll ask of you, when your liberty you’ll gain,
Remember him who’s far away, a convict bound in chains.


“Mitchel, an Irish revolutionary, was a strong advocate of a peasant-led rebellion to establish independence for Ireland. In 1848, he was found guilty of treason by a ‘loaded’ jury, and sentenced to fourteen years transportation to Australia. Five years later he escaped from Tasmania and managed to make his way to America. Ironically, while there he became a leading supporter of slavery and the southern cause. He returned to Ireland in 1875, where he became Member of Parliament for Co. Tipperary. We also recorded this from Wexford Traveller 'Pop’s' Johnny Connors who says he first heard it as ‘The Convict’s Chain’ played on the pipes by his grand-uncle Johnny Doran, the legendary travelling piper.”
Jim Carroll

See also
John Mitchell sung by Mikey Kelleher

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