The Foggy Dew (Charles O'Neill) MIDIs, videos
#289: YouTube video by BardofCornwall
©2011 ~ Used with permission ~


As down the glen one Easter morn
to a city fair rode I,
There, armèd lines of marching men
in squadrons passed me by;
No pipe did hum nor battle drum
did sound its dread tattoo,
But the Angelus bell o'er the Liffey's swell
rang out through the foggy dew.

Right proudly high over Dublin town
they hung out the flag of war,
'Twas better to die 'neath an Irish sky
than at Suvla or Sud-El-Bar;
And from the plains of Royal Meath
strong men came hurrying through,
While Brittania's Huns, with their long range guns,
sailed in through the foggy dew.

'Twas England bade our wild geese go,
that "small nations might be free";
Their lonely graves are by Suvla's waves
on the fringe of the great North Sea;
Oh, had they died by Pearse's side
or fought with Cathal Brugha,
Their graves we'd keep where the Fenians sleep,
'neath the shroud of the foggy dew.

Oh, the night fell black, and the rifles' crack
made perfidious Albion reel,
In the leaden rain, seven tongues of flame
did shine o'er the lines of steel;
By each shining blade a prayer was said
that to Ireland her sons be true,
But when morning broke, still the war flag
shook out its folds in the foggy dew.

Oh, the bravest fell, and the Requiem bell
rang mournfully and clear,
For those who died that Eastertide
in the spring time of the year;
And the world did gaze in deep amaze
at those fearless men but few,
Who bore the fight that freedom's light
might shine through the foggy dew.

As back through the glen I rode again
and my heart with grief was sore,
For I parted then with valiant men
whom I never shall see more;
But to and fro in my dreams I go
and I kneel and pray for you,
For slavery fled, O glorious dead,
when you fell in the foggy dew.
For slavery fled, O glorious dead,
when you fell in the foggy dew.

####.... Charles O'Neill [1887-1963] of Portglenone, IE, who became a parish priest of Kilcoo and later Newcastle, County Down, IE ....####
The video above features an excellent cover performance by Jesse Ferguson of Cornwall, ON, Fredericton, NB and Sydney, NS.

From Wikipedia:
Easter Rising - armed insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland, seceding from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and establishing an independent Irish Republic at a time when the United Kingdom was heavily engaged in World War I. It was the most significant uprising in Ireland since the rebellion of 1798.
Perfidious Albion - hostile epithet for England or the United Kingdom: perfidious signifies one who does not keep his faith or word, while Albion is the Ancient Greek name for Britain.

Suvla and Sud-El-Bar refer to the British landings against the Turks at Gallipoli in World War I, during which Empire troops lost approximately 252,000 men. The initial landing was made on 25 April 1915 at the southern tip of Cape Helles by 75,000 British, Australians, New Zealanders, and French. When the landing bogged down on the beach and failed to make headway, another landing was made 15 miles to the north at Suvla Bay on 6 August 1915. That attack also bogged down and the two sides were locked in bloody combat until the British cabinet ordered a withdrawal in January, 1916.

Pearse refers to Padraic Pearse [1879-1916], the poet leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, who called upon the people of Ireland to reclaim their ancient glory through heroic acts of rebellion.

Background information gleaned from posts in the Digital Tradition by Minna dated September 3, 2008:
¹ The Leitrim Observer dated June 8, 1957, (The Foggy Dew, page 6, author unknown):
The words of The Foggy Dew were written by Rev Charles O'Neill, who was a curate in St Peter's Church, Belfast, about the time of the Rising. He adapted his verses to the melody of The Foggy Dew which was first printed in Songs of the Irish Harpers, edited and arranged by Charlotte Milligan Fox [1864-1916]. When Father O'Neill adapted the air for his stirring song, he had the good fortune to be associated with the late Carl G Hardebeck, who was then an organist in one of the Belfast churches. Mr Hardebeck retained the melody as published by Mrs Fox, but gave it a vigorous setting, so that it sounds quite different than the old folk song. Hardebeck gave militant touch to the accompaniment, which never fails to arouse an Irish audience to a high pitch of enthusiasm. In his lyrics, Father O'Neill stresses the fact that Irishmen who are duped in the service of Britain receive very little recognition from the British Government after all the tumult and shouting has died down.

² Reverend T J Lavin, PhD, MA in Poets of the Easter Week (page 8) in Irish Independent, April 7, 1969:
Father Charles O'Neill of Belfast wrote the Foggy Dew, a song that still stirs nostalgic memories in most of us, for it was sung in thousands of homes throughout the length and breadth of Ireland during the long and dark but glorious nights of the Black and Tan era.

The video below features an excellent guitar performance by Tony Archibald from Port St Mary on the Isle of Man.

#964: YouTube video by threelegsoman
©2009 ~ Used with permission ~


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