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Collection of eighty street ballads: Boyn Water

Collection of eighty street ballads on forty sheets, mostly with a woodcut printed at London, the majority by J. Catnach (1820­1830). London: n.p., n.d. University of Minnesota Libraries. WILSON Rare Books Quarto 830.1l C683.

Pasted to album leaf 21: broadside containing "Kate Kearney" (left column) and "Boyn Water" (right column). 

Decorative wood engraving: ornamental inital O.

Boyn Water

          JULY the first at old Bridge town,
             There happen'd a glorious battle,
          Where many a man lay on the ground,
             By the cannons that did rattle;
          King James he pitch'd his tents between,
             The lines for to retire,
          But William threw in his red shot,
             And set them all on fire.
          Thereat the enemy vow'd revenge,
             Against <K>ing William's forces,
          And oft did cry most vehemently,
             That they would stop their courses,
          A bullet from the Irish came,
             Which graz'd <K>ing William's shoulder.
          They thought his Majesty had been slain,
             But it did make him still the bolder.
          Duke Schomberg with friendly care,
             The king did caution,
          To shun the spot where bullets hot,
             Retain their rapid motion;
          But William said, he don't deserve,
             The name of faith's defender,
          That will not venture life and limbs,
             To make a free surrender.
          The horse they were to march o'er first,
             And the foot to follow after,
          But the good <D>uke Schomberg was no more
             By venturing over the water;
          Let not my soldiers be dismayed,
             For the loss of one commander,
          For God will be your king this day,
             And I a general under.
          The cunning Frenchmen near Dundalk
             Had taken up their quarters,
          And fenc'd themselves on every side,
             Waiting for their new orders,
          But in the mid time of the night,
             They set their fields on fire,
          And before the morning light,
             To Dublin did retire.
          The protestants of Drogheda,
             Have reason to be thankful,
          For when they were prisoners bound,
             They were but scarce a handful;
          First to Tholsel they were brought
             And next to Mil-mote after,
          But good King William set them free.
             By venturing over the water.
          But let us all kneel down and pray,
             Now and for ever after,
          And never more forget the day,
             King William cross'd Boyn Water.
Pitts, Printer, <W>holesale Toy and Marble Warehouse
6, Great St. Andrew's Street, Seven Dials 

Transcription, annotation and HTML coding by Brett Single.  Pointed brackets mark conjectural readings and emendations.

"Boyn Water" describes the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland, a conflict over succession of the English throne between the Scots Catholic King James II of England and Anglican Protestant William of Orange.  For further commentary see Brett Single, "Celtic History and Politics in The Ballads of Seven Dials."

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Michael Hancher
Department of English, University of Minnesota
URL: <http://umn.edu/home/mh/boyn.html>
Comments to: mh@umn.edu
Created 19 May 1997
Revised 28 June 1997

Ryan Franklin,
Feb 10, 2012, 1:50 PM
Ryan Franklin,
Feb 10, 2012, 1:50 PM