Patrick Riley (Manus O'Conor)

See also: Pat O'Reilly (Kenneth Peacock)

My name is Patrick Riley,
the truth I will make known,
And I was born near Clonis
in the County of Tyrone;
My parents reared me tenderly,
having no child but me,
And with them I lived contented
to the age of twenty-three.

Alas! I took a notion
to cross the raging sea,
In search of some promotion
unto America;
To seek employment in that land,
a fortune to obtain,
And when I had secured it
to return straight home again.

Alas! I had a sweetheart,
McCormick was her name,
When she heard we were for parting,
straightway to me she came,
Saying: Pat, can this be possible,
you're going to prove unkind,
And leave me broken-hearted
in sorrow here behind?

Dear Ann, I said, be not afraid,
it's you I do adore,
My daily thought shall be of you
while on Columbia's shore;
And when I do return again,
if God spares me my life,
Here is my hand in promise
I will make you my wife.

With this she seemed quite reconciled
and home straightway she went,
And early the next morning
to Captain Pilot went;
She swore that I waylaid her
and used her barbarously,
And robbed her of her purse of gold
which proved my destiny.

The police then soon surrounded me,
as you shall understand,
And marched me off to Liffy jail
by the magistrate's command;
It's there I lay in irons
until my trial day,
Oh, little was my notion
she'd swear my life away.

On the twenty-first of July last
my trial it came on,
This maid being void of scripture
before the judge did stand;
She swore that I waylaid her
and robbed her of five pound,
And thought to force her to a pool
where she would soon be drowned.

The judge then charged the jury
with words that were severe,
Saying: This maid must now be rightified
for all that she did swear;
The jury gave their verdict,
aloud the judge did cry:
For your cruelty unto the maid,
young Riley, you must die.

When I received my sentence
the tears from my eyes did flow,
Thinking to leave my mother
in sorrow, grief, and woe;
And she being far advanced in years,
having no child but me,
That she will stand to see her son
upon the gallows tree.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Irish ballad ....####

Collected by compiler and editor Manus O'Conor and published in 1901 in Old-Time Songs And Ballads Of Ireland, p.35, by the Popular Publishing Company, New York.

A variant was collected in 1951 from James Heaney [1886-1962] of Stock Cove, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published as Pat O'Reilly in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.159-160, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

MacEdward Leach also collected two variants in 1951 from John R Bulger [1899-?] and John James [1903-?] both of Trepassey, NL, which were published as Pat O'Reilly in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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