James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

April 29

The Battle of Limerick

By William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863)

  • During the “Young Ireland” movement of 1848 the Confederate leaders O’Brien and Meagher proposed to make a tour of the chief towns of Munster to review the local Repealers. The tour began at Limerick, where a soirée was held on April 29, but the presence among the guests of John Mitchel, who had recently given offence by an attack on the memory of O’Connell, inflamed the mob, and in the fray which ensued O’Brien was struck by a man who had failed to recognize him.

  • YE Genii of the nation,

    Who look with veneration,

    And Ireland’s desolation onsaysingly deplore;

    Ye sons of General Jackson,

    Who thrample on the Saxon,

    Attend to the thransaction upon Shannon shore.

    When William, Duke of Schumbug,

    A tyrant and a humbug,

    With cannon and with thunder on our city bore,

    Our fortitude and valliance

    Insthructed his battalions

    To rispict the galliant Irish upon Shannon shore.

    Since that capitulation,

    No city in this nation

    So grand a reputation could boast before,

    As Limerick prodigious,

    That stands with quays and bridges,

    And the ships up to the windies of the Shannon shore.

    A chief of ancient line,

    ’Tis William Smith O’Brine,

    Reprisints this darling Limerick, this ten years or more:

    O the Saxons can’t endure

    To see him on the flure,

    And thrimble at the Cicero from Shannon shore!

    This valiant son of Mars

    Had been to visit Par’s

    That land of Revolution, that grows the tricolor;

    And to welcome his returrn

    From pilgrimages furren,

    We invited him to tay on the Shannon shore!

    Then we summoned to our board

    Young Meagher of the Sword;

    ’Tis he will sheathe that battle-axe in Saxon gore:

    And Mitchil of Belfast

    We bade to our repast,

    To dthrink a dish of coffee on the Shannon shore.

    Convaniently to hould

    These patriots so bould,

    We tuck the opportunity of Tim Doolan’s store;

    And with ornamints and banners

    (As becomes gintale good manners)

    We made the lovliest tay-room upon Shannon shore.

    ’Twould binifit your sowls,

    To see the butthered rowls,

    The sugar-tongs and sangwidges and craim galyore,

    And the muffins and the crumpets,

    And the band of harps and thrumpets,

    To celebrate the sworry upon Shannon shore.

    Sure the Imperor of Bohay

    Would be proud to dthrink the tay

    That Misthress Biddy Rooney for O’Brine did pour,

    And, since the days of Strongbow,

    There never was such Congo—

    Mitchil dthrank six quarts of it—by Shannon shore.

    But Clarndon and Corry

    Connellan beheld this sworry

    With rage and imulation in their black heart’s core;

    And they hired a gang of ruffins

    To interrupt the muffins

    And the fragrance of the Congo on the Shannon shore.

    When full of tay and cake,

    O’Brine began to spake;

    But juice a one could hear him, for a sudden roar

    Of a ragamuffin rout

    Began to yell and shout,

    And frighten the propriety of Shannon shore.

    As Smith O’Brine harangued,

    They batthered and they banged;

    Tim Doolan’s doors and windies down they tore;

    They smashed the lovely windies

    (Hung with muslin from the Indies),

    Purshuing of their shindies upon Shannon shore.

    With throwing of brickbats,

    Drowned puppies and dead rats,

    These ruffin democrats themselves did lower;

    Tin kettles, rotten eggs,

    Cabbage-stalks, and wooden legs,

    They flung among the patriots of Shannon Shore.

    O the girls began to scrame

    And upset the milk and crame;

    And the honourable gintlemen, they cursed and swore:

    And Mitchil of Belfast,

    ’Twas he that looked aghast,

    When they roasted him in effigy by Shannon shore.

    O the lovely tay was spilt

    On that day of Ireland’s guilt;

    Says Jack Mitchil, “I am kilt! Boys, where’s the back door?

    ’Tis a national disgrace:

    Let me go and veil me face;”

    And he boulted with quick pace from the Shannon shore.

    “Cut down the bloody horde!”

    Says Meagher of the Sword,

    “This conduct would disgrace any blackamore;”

    But the best use Tommy made

    Of his famous battle blade

    Was to cut his own stick from the Shannon shore.

    Immortal Smith O’Brine

    Was raging like a line;

    ’Twould have done your sowl good to have heard him roar;

    In his glory he arose,

    And he rush’d upon his foes,

    But they hit him on the nose by the Shannon shore.

    Then the Futt and the Dthragoons

    In squadthrons and platoons,

    With their music playing chunes, down upon us bore;

    And they bate the rattatoo,

    But the Peelers came in view,

    And ended the shaloo on the Shannon shore.