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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Ireland: Vol. V. 1876–79.

Boyne, the River

The Battle of the Boyne

By Croker’s Historical Songs of Ireland

JULY the first, in Oldbridge town,

There was a grievous battle,

Where many a man lay on the ground,

By the cannons that did rattle.

King James he pitched his tents between

The lines for to retire;

But King William threw his bomb-balls in,

And set them all on fire.

Thereat enraged, they vowed revenge

Upon King William’s forces;

And often did cry vehemently

That they would stop their courses.

A bullet from the Irish came,

Which grazed King William’s arm;

They thought his Majesty was slain,

Yet it did him little harm.

Duke Schomberg then, in friendly care,

His king would often caution

To shun the spot where bullets hot

Retained their rapid motion.

But William said, “He don’t deserve

The name of Faith’s defender,

That would not venture life and limb

To make a foe surrender.”

When we the Boyne began to cross,

The enemy they descended;

But few of our brave men were lost,

So stoutly we defended.

The horse was the first that marchéd o’er,

The foot soon followed a’ter,

But brave Duke Schomberg was no more,

By venturing over the water.

When valiant Schomberg he was slain,

King William thus accosted

His warlike men for to march on,

And he would be the foremost.

“Brave boys,” he said, “be not dismayed

For the losing of one commander;

For God will be our king this day,

And I ’ll be general under.”

Then stoutly we the Boyne did cross,

To give our enemies battle;

Our cannon, to our foes’ great cost,

Like thundering claps did rattle.

In majestic mien our prince rode o’er,

His men soon followed a’ter;

With blows and shouts put our foes to the rout,

The day we crossed the water.

The Protestants of Drogheda

Have reasons to be thankful

That they were not to bondage brought,

They being but a handful.

First to the Tholsel they were brought,

And tied at Milmount a’ter,

But brave King William set them free,

By venturing over the water.

The cunning French near to Duleek

Had taken up their quarters,

And fenced themselves on every side,

Still waiting for new orders.

But in the dead time of the night

They set the field on fire,

And long before the morning light,

To Dublin they did retire.

Then said King William to his men,

After the French departed,

“I ’m glad,” said he, “that none of ye

Seeméd to be faint-hearted,

So sheathe your swords, and rest awhile,

In time we ’ll follow a’ter”:

These words he uttered with a smile,

The day he crossed the water.

Come, let us all, with heart and voice,

Applaud our lives’ defender,

Who at the Boyne his valor showed,

And made his foes surrender.

To God above the praise we ’ll give,

Both now and ever a’ter,

And bless the glorious memory

Of King William that crossed the Boyne water.