The Irish Stranger (MacEdward Leach)

Oh, pity the fate of a poor Irish stranger,
That wandered thus far from his home;
I sigh for protection from want, woe and danger,
And know not which way for to roam.
I ne'er shall return to Hibernia's bowers,
For bigotry has trampled her sweetest of flowers,
That give comfort to me in my loneliest hours,
Now they're gone and I'll ne'er see them more.

With wonder l gazed on yon proud building,
As in grandeur it rose from its lawn;
With sorrow to see my own garden soon yielding,
Its choicest of fruits for its board.
But where is my father's low cottage of clay,
For in it l did spend many's the long happy day;
Alas! has his lordship contrived this away?
As 'tis gone, and I'll ne'er see it more.

When nature was seen
on the sloe bush and bramble,
Its smiling and beautiful bloom;
All fields without danger I used to ramble,
And lavish amidst their perfume.
Or I'd range through the woods
where the gay feathered throng,
Didst joyfully sing their loud echoing song;
The days of the summer passed quickly along,
Now they're gone and I'll ne'er see them more.

When the sloes and the berries
hung ripe on the bushes,
I'd gather them up without harm;
And then through the fields
where I'd shorn the green rushes,
Preparing for winter's cold storm.
Or I've sat by the fire on a cold winter's night,
Along with my friends, telling tales of delight;
Those tales gave me pleasure, I could them invite,
Now they're gone and I'll ne'er see them more.

But Erin, sad Erin, that grieves me to ponder,
On the wrongs of thy injured isle;
Thy sons, many thousands deploring to wander,
On shores far away in exile.
But give me the power to cross o'er the main,
America might yield me some shelter from pain;
I'm only lamenting while still I remain,
For the joys that I'll never see more.

Farewell now to Erin and those l left weeping,
Upon her disconsolate shore;
Farewell to the grave where my Father lies sleeping,
That ground l still dearly adore.
Farewell to the pleasures I once had at home,
Farewell, now a stranger in England l roam;
O, give me my past joys, or give me a tomb;
Yes, in pity I'll ask for no more.

####.... Variant of an American broadside ballad published by J Andrews, Printer, 38 Chatham Street, NY, without a date and archived at the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress, shelfmark: American Song Sheets, Series 1, Volume 4, as106330.0 ....####

Collected in 1951 from John M Curtis [c.1877-?] of Trepassey, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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