Mike Dwyer (MacEdward Leach)

Oh, now, brave Mike Dwyer,
you and your trusty men,
Are scented o'er the mountains
and tracked into the Glen;
Sleep not, but watch and listen,
keep ready gun and ball,
For the enemy knows your hiding place
tonight at wild Imaal.

They traveled on together
towards the dawn of day,
Discovered where those fearless
and faithful heroes lay;
And 'round their little cabin
they formed in a ring,
And called out, "Mike Dwyer,
surrender to your king!"

Then up spoke Mike Dwyer,
saying, "Unto this house we came,
Unasked by those good people,
they cannot be to blame;
So let those guiltless people
unquestioned pass you through,
And when they're passed in safety
I'll tell you what we'll do."

'Twas done, then said Dwyer,
"Now let your work begin,
You are a hundred outside,
we're only four within;
We've heard your haughty summons,
and this is our reply,
We're true United Irishmen,
we'll fight until we die."

Then burst Dwyer's red lightning
and poured the leaden rain,
The hills around re-echoed
and thunder pealed again;
So many soldiers falling,
Dwyer sees with pride,
But one gallant comrade
is wounded by his side.

Then up speaks brave McAlister,
the weak and wounded man,
"You can escape, my comrades,
and this shall be your plan:
Place in my hand a musket
and lie upon the floor,
I'll stand before the soldiers
and open wide the door."

"They'll pour into my bosom
the fires of their array,
And when their guns are emptied,
dash through them and away."

He stood before the foeman,
revealed amidst the flame,
From out their level pieces
that wish for folly came;
Up sprang those three survivors
for whom that hero died,
But only Mike Dwyer burst
through the ranks outside.

He battled his pursuers
who followed like the wind,
He swam the river Slaney
and left them far behind;
But many was the Redcoat
he promised soon should fall,
For those his gallant comrades
who died at wild Imaal.

####.... T(imothy) D(aniel) Sullivan [1827-1914] Irish Poet and Nationalist Member of Parliament ....####

Sung by Jack Swain [1892-1982] of Calvert, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Michael Dwyer [1772-1825] of the Glen of Imaal, was a United Irishman, who is still regarded as a folk hero in Ireland, especially in County Wicklow, where he had a daring and charmed life, eluding capture during the time he led his intrepid mountain fighters in the Wicklow Hills. He surrendered under his own terms in 1803, and was exiled to Australia where he and his wife Mary are entombed in the Monument to Irish Patriots in Waverley Cemetery, New South Wales, AU.


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