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The Grazier’s Song
(Roud 2998)
Michael ‘Straighty’ Flanagan
Recorded July 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan

Oh toilers of this nation I hope you will draw near,
A new and true narration I mean to let you hear.
‘Tis for your information, my pen I take on hand,
To try describe a grazier tribe, that now infests this land.

This grazier clan has over-ran, your country so fair,
Enough to make the angels weep or drive you to despair.
There’s not a town from Cork to Down, or Dublin to Tralee,
But has a den of grazier men, to keep you in poverty.

Oh ye men in name have you no shame, to see this beauteous land,
Turned into one vast wilderness by a cursed grazier band,
This land so kind was ne’er designed by providence on high,
To keep John Bull with mutton full, while the natives starve and die.

Oh ye men of honest labour, wherever you be found.
To seek a home you need not roam, but quietly look around.
There may be seen fine meadows green, and bullocks sleek and grand.
Just get your pole and take a stroll, and clear them off the land.

And if Bob be there to fume and swear and threaten you in jail,
And for your own behavior, you surely will find bail.
But still you’ll find true friends behind to cheer you, in your woe,
Then you’ll be so grand, with house and land, yourself you will not know.


“According to Patrick Galvin, under the Penal Laws, Ireland's existing trade and manufactures were systematically destroyed. For example, no meat could be exported except barrelled salted meat for the British Navy; no wool could be exported except to Britain; and so on. Only the linen trade was encouraged and subsidised, to help Britain counter Dutch and French competition. Anglo-Irish capital could be invested only in Britain. The Chief Secretary and the Viceroy were appointed by the British Cabinet; the Irish Ministers were appointed by the Viceroy. No Catholic could vote, and the 'representatives' in the Dublin Parliament were nominated by local landowners, who sold seats openly. Up to I780, Irish political affairs were a seething mass of corruption. The bulk of the landlords were absentees or 'graziers', that is, mere receivers of rent who did not themselves farm, and the mass of the people were peasants below subsistence level. The staple diet of the people had become potatoes and buttermilk, while the garrison towns and England received large quantities of Irish-grown wheat and dairy products.”

Irish Songs of Resistance, Patrick Galvin, Workers Music Association Publications, London, 1955.
Irish Street Ballads, Colm O Lochlainn, Three Candles Press, Dublin, 1946.
Jim Carroll

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