Unforgettable Michael Collins
Something for the weekend. Michael Collins. A song in tribute to Michael Collins, the father of Irish independence, whose life and death symbolized the glory and tragedy of Ireland.
Collins was the most talented Irish statesman and soldier of the last century. He was also a man of exceptional courage as he demonstrated when he signed the Anglo-Irish treaty, realizing that this was the best deal that could be gotten from the British. “I have signed my own death warrant” was his prophetic utterance when he signed the treaty. Collins was killed in the subsequent utterly futile Irish civil war that erupted, dying at 31 on August 22, 1922, proving once again that the worst enemy of the Irish often tend to be the Irish.
In the negotiations with the British Michael Collins and Winston Churchill became acquainted and found, probably to their mutual surprise, that they respected each other.
Just before his death Collins sent this message, “Tell Winston we could never have done it without him.”
In 1929 Churchill wrote of Collins, “Successor to a sinister inheritance, reared among fierce conditions and moving through ferocious times, he supplied those qualities of action and personality without which the foundation of Irish nationhood would not have been re-established.”
Come listen all me true men to my simple rhyme
For it tells of a young man cut off in his prime
A soldier and a statesman who laid down the law, and,
To die by the roaside in lone Beal na Bla
When barely sixteen to England crossed o’er
For to work as a boy in a government store B
ut the Volunteers call he could not disobey
So he came back to Dublin to join in the fray
At Easter nineteen sixteen when
Pearse called them out
The men from the Dublin battalion roved out
And in the post office they nobley did show
How a handful of heros could outfight the foe.
To Stafford and jails transported they were
As prisoners of England they soon made a stir
Released before Christmas and home once again
He banded old comrades together to train
Dail Eireann assembled our rights to proclaim
Suppressed by the English you’d think it’s a shame
How Ireland’s best and bravest were harried and torn
From the Arms of their loved ones and children new born.
For years Mick eluded their soldiers and spies
For he was the master of clever disguise
With the Custom House blazing she found t’was no use
And soon Mother England had asked for a truce
Oh when will the young men a sad lesson spurn
That brother and brother they never should turn
Alas that a split in our ranks ‘ere we saw
Mick Collins stretched lifeless in lone Beal na Bla
Oh long will old Ireland be seeking in vain
Ere we find a new leader to match the man slain
A true son of Grainne his name long will shine
O gallant Mick Collins cut off in his prime.