The Rising of the Moon

 

 

 

 

 

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Something for the weekend.  I feel in the mood for a little Irish rebel music, and nothing fits the bill better than The Rising of the Moon sung by the Clancy Brothers.  The song, written around 1865, celebrates the Irish rising of 1798, when Protestant and Catholic Irishmen, with the help of a small French invasion force, launched a rebellion, probably the largest and most hard fought revolt against English rule in the history of Ireland.  Like all such Irish revolts, except for the last one, it was defeated and drowned in blood.  However, the Irish have ever celebrated their defeats even more than their victories, and the Rising of the Moon is a fitting tribute.

Oh! then tell me, Shawn O’Ferrall, Tell me why you hurry so?”

 ”Hush ma bouchal, hush and listen”, And his cheeks were all a-glow.

“I bear ordhers from the captain, Get you ready quick and soon,

For the pikes must be together At the risin’ of the moon”.

At the risin’ of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,

For the pikes must be together at the risin’ of the moon.

“Oh! then tell me, Shawn O’Ferrall, Where the gatherin’ is to be?”

“In the ould spot by the river, Right well known to you and me.

 One word more—for signal token Whistle up the marchin’ tune,

 With your pike upon your shoulder, By the risin’ of the moon”.

 By the risin’ of the moon, by the risin’ of the moon,

With your pike upon your shoulder, by the risin’ of the moon.

Out from many a mudwall cabin Eyes were watching thro’ that night,

 Many a manly chest was throbbing For the blessed warning light.

 Murmurs passed along the valleys Like the banshee’s lonely croon,

 And a thousand blades were flashing At the risin’ of the moon.

At the risin’ of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,

And a thousand blades were flashing at the risin’ of the moon.

There beside the singing river That dark mass of men was seen,

Far above the shining weapons Hung their own beloved green.

 ”Death to ev’ry foe and traitor! Forward! strike the marchin’ tune,

 And hurrah, my boys, for freedom! ‘T is the risin’ of the moon”.

 ’T is the risin’ of the moon, ‘t is the risin’ of the moon,

 And hurrah my boys for freedom! ‘t is the risin’ of the moon.

Well they fought for poor old Ireland, And full bitter was their fate

(Oh! what glorious pride and sorrow Fill the name of Ninety-Eight).

Yet, thank God, e’en still are beating Hearts in manhood’s burning noon,

Who would follow in their footsteps, At the risin’ of the moon!

 At the rising of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,

Who would follow in their footsteps, at the risin’ of the moon.

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5 Responses to The Rising of the Moon

  • T. Shaw says:

    Also, today in 1718, Israel Putnam was born in Salem, MA.

    “While Britannia’s sons with their long range guns
    Sailed in through the foggy dew.”

    Remember the heroes of Easter Monday 1916.

    My Jewish associate, a fine well-educated man, once asked me, “What’s with the Irish? The Scots and Welsh learned to live with it.” I told him, “We’re a hard-headed people.”

    In the end, freedom came to the Irish through patriots’ maximum sacrifices and sufferings.

  • Donald,

    I love the Clancy Brothers. I discovered them quite by accident. I picked up a CD from my library because I wanted to learn more about traditional Irish folk music, and the cover had a photo of what looked like traditional Irish singers, what with their fisherman sweaters and all.

    The CD actually was a recent effort – Older But No Wiser from 1995. I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough Clancy Bros. The vocals are magical and the songs are rousing and sad at the same time.

    I even got some Cajun high school guys interested in them. I took some students backpacking in the Smokies, and on the way I “subjected” them to Irish songs of drinking and rebellion. They got to know the songs, and on the trail we would sing them. On the way back home, they were asking me to play the CD.

    Thanks for the interesting stuff you post here that keeps me coming back.

  • Thank you Nicholas! The Clancy Brothers sang their songs with complete conviction. Their voices, especially as they got older, were sometimes a bit rough around the edges, but that, to me, lends their singing a ring of authenticity that is sadly missing among many other songsters.

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