Ballad of Larkin and Connolly

In Dublin city in 1913
The boss was boss and employed a slave
The woman worked while the child went hungry
Then Larkin came like a towering wave.

The worker cringed when the bossman thundered
And seventy hours was his weekly chore
He asked for little and less was granted
Lest getting little he'd ask for more.

Then God sent Larkin, so dark and handsome
A mighty man with a powerful tongue
The voice of labour the voice of justice
And he was gifted and he was young.

Then God sent Larkin in 1913
A powerful man with a gifted tongue
He raised the worker and gave him courage
He was the hero the worker sung.

In the month of August the bossman told us
No union man for him could work
We stood by Larkin we told the bossman
To fight, to starve we would not shirk.

Eight months we faught and eight months we starved
We followed Larkin through thick and thin
But foodless homes and the crying children
They broke our hearts and we coild not win.

Then Larkin left us, we seemed defeated
The night was dark for us working men
But Connolly rose with new hope and council
He gave the slogan "We'll rise again!"

In Dublin Citry in 1916
The British army burnt down the town
They shelled the city they took the leaders
The harp was buried beneath the crown.

They shot MacDonagh and Pearse and Plunkett
They shot MacDermott and Clark the brave.
From bleak Kilmainham they took Ceannt's body
To Arbor Hill to a quicklime grave.

But last of all of the seven captains
A dying man they shot Connolly
The voice of labour, the voice of justice
Who gave his life that men might be free.

Donagh and Niall MacDonagh, 1963, 1968
Tune: Preab 'san Ol

Background: In 1963 the Irish Congress of Trade Unions asked my father to write something that could be staged in commemoration of the 1913 lockout. The problem was that it had to open in three weeks - three weeks for the writing, rehearsals and production. The result was "Let Freedom Ring" a masque drawn largely from songs, poems and newspaper reports of the time. To tie the action together he wrote a verse here and there to the tune of Preab 'san Ol. Some years later, just a few weeks before my father's death, I showed the script to a fine singer by the name of Ted McKenna who took immeediately to these verses. But when we dug them all there there was less than an entire song - nothing at all about the lockout itself. My father promised to write some more to it but died before he could. I then sat down and added a couple of verses. The song's 1st performance was a memorial tribute to my father at the Abbey Theatre.

Love Duet
(Air: One Morning in May)

I am a poor girl and my heart it is breaking,
Betrayed by a young man so handsome and bold,
For he's left me and followed a rich merchant's daughter
Because I am poor and she's decked out with gold.

I am a young man with a heart full of sorrow,
In love this twelve months with a maiden so fair,
But she's given her heart to a treacherous young man
And passes me by with her head in the air.

My heart broke in two when that young man betrayed me,
One half is still his but the other is mine;
If I give half that heart is there any would take it
And hope that the two would unite at some time?

Oh, who is so rich as to scorn half a sovereign?
Who so hot in his leather to spurn half a sun?
The half moon is fragile and sweet when she's shining,
And half of a diamond is better than none.

With a heart and a half I will take up your offer -
By simple addition that makes our hearts two.

Forget all the past, we've the present and future
To find what you get when you add true and true.

Drinking Song
(Air: Goodbye Mike)

Good fellows let us drink tonight
As no man drank since Bacchus
The sky will be our cocktail jug
The lakes and seas our glasses.

And when the sun comes up again
And sees the mighty slaughter
He'll say "The worlds gone roaring drunk,
They should have stuck to porter."

The merchant and the excise man
And all who live in houses
Will be our footstools and the hills
Our seats through our carousals.


We'll pour the brandy, gin and rum,
The whiskey and the sherry
Down gullets thirstier than sand
And all die drunk and merry.


Then burn the corks and pour the liquor,
Empty all the bottles,
You'll get no chance once life is past
So pour it down your throttles.


The Invitation
(Air: Come to the Bower)

Will you come to the bower through the bog and the heather,
To the fires where the boys and girls are met together,
Where the dancing board's laid down, where accordion and fiddle
Are gayer than the poteen with their merry tarra-diddle,
Will you come, will you, will you, will you come to the bower?

You can drink tea or porter and eat scallions while your able,
Your seat is the bogland and the heather is your table,
The moon for a lamp and the little stars above you
And a young man at your elbow to encourage, kiss and love you
Will you come, will you, will you, will you come to the bower?

You can dance jigs or reels or the half set or the lancers
And you'll shine in the midst of the fairest of the dancers;
Will you sing like the blackbird on the highest branch of morning
Or whisper words of love when the holy day is dawning?
Will you come, will you, will you, will you come to the bower?

Will you come to the bower since the sun that old reprover
Has gone to his bed, left the world to lass and lover,
Since the stars wait to deck you and the moon comes out to greet you,
Will you come from your room, life and love are here to meet you?
Will you come, will you, will you, will you come to the bower?

Hot Weather Ballad
(Air: Come Listen to my Story, Molly Bawn)

Oh, the sugar and the tea twist and the bread
The chicken and the duckling for the pot
The potatoes and the carrots and the onions from the garden,
Oh, who wouldn't be a tinker when its hot?

The nightshirt from the clothesline or the hedge
The blanket from the cupboard or the cot
The pony from the stable, the bottle from the table,
Oh, who wouldn't be a tinker when its hot?

The daughter of the woman from the man,
The truncheon from the bobby when your caught,
The bacon from the chimney, the porter from the sheebeen,
Oh, who wouldn't be a tinker when its hot?

The woodbine from the hedgerows and the lanes,
The fair green and organ's gay gavotte,
The love making in the haystacks when the stars are bright as tapers
Oh, who wouldn't be a tinker when its hot?

The next two songs are from his operetta "Down by the Liffy Side". It was commissioned my Adrian Beecham who wrote the music, but was never performed until ling aftermy father's death. If anyone wants to sing these songs I may be able to get sheet music.


Here's to gold it makes you free,
Here's to yellow guineas,
Here's to cash and the Marshalsea
Where the gamesters play with pennies
For only fools consent to work;
Hurrah for all brave schemers.

Here's to the coin that's double faced,
Here's to the dice that's loaded,
Here's to the rogue that's thorough-paced,
And here's to the wretch that's goaded,
For only fools consent to work;
Hurrah for all brave schemers.

Here's to the decent, honest cheat
Who after money hankers;
Here's to the doxy on the street
And here's to the bank and bankers ,
For only fools consent to work;
Hurrah for all brave schemers.

Here's to the card that cheats the eye ,
Here's to the trick-of-the-loopman ,
Here's to the gulls and what they buy
God bless the nincompoopman,
For only fools consent to work;
Hurrah for all brave schemers.


Behold the pauper's prison, the hell of banlcrupt debtors
There sadly we're repenting for our spendthrift, happy days,
Remembering the bottles that emptied down our gullets
The wigs, the lace, the satins and the ruinous displays
Oh, once I lived contentedly and friends I loved surrounded me
Care nor grief ne'er troubled me nor made my heart feel sore,
But now those days are over and here I rot in misery
Reflecting on the abstinence that fifty times I swore.

T'was dice that proved my downfall, the cards and little horses
VVhose speed was far inferior to every other horse,
The fly I had my cash on alighted last invariably
My raindrop on the windowpane dried up, nor stayed the course;
But were I rich and young again and could I all I've lost regain
I'd live the same life out again, and luck would turn my way;
With dice and cards and claret the night would vanish rapidly
And I would rise triumphant at the closing of the play.

A dark eye or a grey eye, an eye that's soft and tender,
A form that's tall and slender, a breast that stands at bay
An ankle trim and shapely, a hand that's slim and playful
A mouth that's shaped for kissing and breath that's a bouquet -
These are the charms that ruined me, yet I pursued them foolishly
Certain that each new schooling would give me my degree;
But all a lifetime brought me the first girl could have taught me,
For all I ever learned ofthem was what they thought of me.