Entertainment Music The Croppy Boy Lyrics and Background Share PINTEREST Email Print BremecR / Getty Images Music World Music Genres & Styles Top Picks Top Artists Rock Music Pop Music Alternative Music Classical Music Country Music Folk Music Rap & Hip Hop Rhythm & Blues Punk Music Heavy Metal Jazz Latin Music Oldies Learn More By Megan Romer Updated on 03/06/19 "The Croppy Boy" is a tragic old Irish folksong that was written by an Irish poet named William B. McBurney, who used the pseudonym Carroll Malone, in 1845. The song, a memorial of the Uprising of 1798, tells the story of a young man (a "croppy," as the young 1798 uprisers were called, due to their short-cropped hair) who, on his way to battle, stops in at a church to make a confession. He tells his story to the shrouded priest who is sitting in a chair. After he's confessed his sins (and outed himself as a Rebel), the "priest" reveals himself to be an English soldier and arrests the young man and takes him away to be executed as a traitor. A quick language point: "buachaill" is Irish for "boy" or "lad." Music "The Croppy Boy" is set to an old Irish air called "Cailin Og a Stor," which is at least 500 years old. This air also provides the music for the folksong "Lady Franklin's Lament" (also known as "Lord Franklin" or "Sailor's Dream"), upon which Bob Dylan based his song "Bob Dylan's Dream." Lyrics Good men and true in this house who dwellTo a stranger buachaill I pray you tellIs the Priest at home or may he be seenI would speak a word with Father Green. The youth has entered an empty hallWhere a lonely sound has his light footfallAnd the gloomy chamber's cold and bareWith a vested Priest in a lonely chair. The youth has knelt to tell his sins"Nomine Dei," the youth beginsAt "mea culpa," he beats his breastThen in broken murmurs he speaks the rest. "At the siege of Ross did my father fallAnd at Gorey my loving brothers allI alone am left to my name and raceI will go to Wexford to take their place." "I cursed three times since last Easter dayAnd at Mass-time once I went to playI passed the churchyard one day in hasteAnd forgot to pray for my Mother's rest." "I bear no hate against living thingBut I love my country above my KingNow Father, bless me and let me goTo die, if God has ordained it so." The Priest said naught, but a rustling noiseMade the youth look up in a wild surpriseThe robes were off, and in scarlet thereSat a yeoman captain with fiery glare With fiery glare and with fury hoarseInstead of a blessing he breathed a curse'Twas a good thought, boy, to come here and shriveFor one short hour is your time to live. Upon yon river three tenders floatThe Priest's on one, if he isn't shotWe hold this house for our Lord and KingAnd amen, I say, may all traitors swing. At Geneva Barracks that young man diedAnd at Passage they have his body laidGood people who live in peace and joyBreathe a prayer, shed a tear for the Croppy Boy. Recommended Recordings The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem - "The Croppy Boy"The Wolfe Tones - "The Croppy Boy"The Dubliners - "The Croppy Boy"