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Paddy's Lamentation

burnside bridge wounded

Another one of Miss Holly's favorite songs from the era. Many Irishmen were eager to sign up and fight for their adopted country. It was believed by some that, after helping America win the war, America would in turn help liberate Ireland from British rule. But here we have the other side of the coin, bitter disapointment and a lament for lost dreams and failed expectations. This tune expresses the sorrow of the Irish immigrant who, having just stepped off the boat — and sometimes this was literally true — the new arrival was pressured, convinced and sometimes tricked into joining the army.

The instrumental after the song is called The Night Larry was Stretched.

11. Paddy's Lamentation


Well it’s by the hush, me boys, and sure that’s to hold your noise
And listen to poor Paddy’s sad narration
I was by hunger pressed, and in poverty distressed
So I took a thought I’d leave the Irish nation

Here’s you boys, now take my advice
To Amerikay I’ll have yous not be comin’
There is nothin’ here but war, where the murderin’ cannons roar
And I wish I was back home in dear old Ireland

So I sold me horse and plow, sold me pigs, me sheep and cow
My little plot of land, I soon departed
And me sweetheart Bid McGee, I fear I never more will see
For I left her there that morning quite broken-hearted

Well meself and a hundred more to Amerikay came o’re
Our fortunes to be makin’, we were thinkin’
But when we got to Yankee land, they shoved a gun into our hand
Saying “Paddy, you must go and fight for Lincoln!”

General Meagher to us he said, “If you get shot or you lose your leg,
Every mother’s son of yous will get a pension!”
Well meself, I lost my leg, I’ll I got’s a wooden leg
Ah me boys, it is the truth to you I mention