Come All You Warriors
Come All You Warriors (also known as Father Murphy) is a ballad concerning the rebellion against British rule that took place largely in Wexford, Ireland in 1798. The narrative focuses on the predominant figure in the Wexford rebellion, Father John Murphy of the parish of Boulavogue.
The song was written within a couple of years of the rebellion and is one of the texts on which the well known 'Boulavogue' was based by P.J. McCall a hundred years later for the centenary celebrations of the rebellion.
The song is referenced in the 'Memoirs of Joseph Holt, general of the Irish rebels in 1798', where he states:
'The fragments of a popular song of this period, which I picked up last summer (1836) in a tour through the county of Wexford asserts that
At the Windmill hills, and at Enniscorthy,
The British fencibles they ran like deers,
But our ranks were scattered and sorely battered,
For the want of Kyan and his Shelmaliers.'
- The song was recorded twice by Frank Harte on the albums 'Dublin Street Songs / Through Dublin City' and '1798, The First Year of Liberty'.
- It is sung by Jerry O'Reilly on the album 'The Croppy's Complaint'
- A slightly different version with alternate first verse was sung by Phil Berry on the albums 'Father and Son' and 'Wexford Ballads 1798', which also contains many other songs of the rebellion.
(First verse as collected in Colm Ó Lochlainn's "Irish Street Ballads")
Come all you warriors and renowned nobles
Give ear unto my warlike theme
While I relate how brave Father Murphy
He lately roused from his sleepy dream
Sure Julius Caesar nor Alexander
Nor brave King Arthur ever equalled him
For armies formidable he did conquer
Though with two pikemen he did begin
(Alternate first verse listed in 'Verse in English from Eighteenth-century Ireland' by Andrew Carpenter)
Come all you warriors and renowned nobles
Who once commanded brave warlike bands
Throw down your plumes and your golden trophies
Give up your arms with a trembling hand
For Father Murphy of the County Wexford,
Lately roused from his sleepy dream
To cut down cruel Saxon persecution
And wash it away in a crimson stream.
Camolin cavalry he did unhorse them
Their first lieutenant he cut him down
With shattered ranks and with broken columns
They soon returned to Camolin town
At the hill of Oulart he displayed his valour
Where a hundred Corkmen lay on the plain
At Enniscorthy his sword he wielded
And I hope to see him once more again
When Enniscorthy became subject unto him
Twas then to Wexford we marched our men
And on the Three Rock took up our quarters
Waiting for daylight the town to win
The loyal townsmen gave their assistance
We will die or conquer they all did say
The yeomen cavalry made no resistance,
For on the pavement their corpses lay
With drums a-beating the town did echo
And acclamations came from door to door
On the Windmill Hill we pitched our tents then
We drank like heroes but paid no score
On Carraig Rua for some time we waited
And next to Gorey we did repair
At Tubberneering we thought no harm
The bloody army was waiting there
The issue of it was a close engagement
While on the soldiers we played warlike pranks
Through the sheepwalks, hedgerows and shady thickets
There were mangled bodies and broken ranks
The shuddering cavalry, I can't forget them
We raised the brushes on their helmets straight
They turned about and made straight for Dublin
As though they ran for a ten pound plate
Now, some crossed Donnybrook and more through Blackrock
And some up Shankhill without wound or flaw
And if Barry Lawless be not a liar
There was more went groaning up Luggela
To the Windmill Hill of Enniscorthy,
The British Fencibles they fled like deers
But our ranks were tattered and sorely scattered
By the loss o Kyan and his Shelmaliers
With flying colours we marched on to Limerick,
And to Kilcavan we did repair;
'Twas on Mount Pleasant we called the county,
And pointed cannon at the army there.
When we thought fit we marched on to Gorey;
The next was Arklow we did surround.
The night being coming, we regretted sorely,
Tho' one hundred soldiers lay on the ground.
The streets of England were left quite naked
Of all their army both foot and horse
The Highlands of Scotland were left unguarded
Likewise the Hessians the seas did cross
But if the Frenchmen had reinforced us
And landed transports at Baginbun
Father John Murphy, he would be their seconder
And sixteen thousand with him would come
References and notes
- Holt, Joseph, 'Memoirs of Joseph Holt, general of the Irish rebels in 1798', ed. by T.C. Croker, p185 
- 'The Croppy's Complaint – Music & Songs of 1798', Craft Recordings – CRCD03 
- A ten pound plate was a prize in a championship horse race
- 'This may refer to John Lawless, a Dublin leader of the United Irishmen, whose part in the uprising was somewhat less than creditable.
- Esmond Kyan was captain of the rebel artillery in the attack on Arklow.
- According to the 'Memoirs of Joseph Holt, general of the Irish rebels in 1798', ed. by T.C. Croker, p185 'The appearance of the Shelmaliers with their guns gave great confidence to the insurgents and when they had even a single cannon to support the Shelmalier long shots the combination made the rebels confident of success
- This refers to Limerick fort which was in County Wexford.
- Mount Pleasant is a village in east Waterford
- This refers to a widely held hope that the French army would assist in Ireland's bid for independence
- Baginbun Bay near Fethard-on-Sea is where the Normans landed in Ireland in the 12th century
- 'Verse in English from Eighteenth-century Ireland' by Andrew Carpenter, see pages 566 – 569.