Australian Folk Songs

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The Soldier's Song (1917)

I'll sing you a song, a Soldier's Song,
With cheery, rousing chorus,
As round our blazing fires we throng,
The starry heavens o'er us ;
Impatient for the coming fight,
As we await the morning light,
Here in the silence of the night
We'll chant a Soldier's Song. Chorus.

Soldiers are we,
Whose lives are pledged to Ireland,
Some have come from a land beyond the wave;
Sworn to be free.

No more our ancient sireland
Shall shelter the despot or the slave ;
To-night we man the "barn na bweel,"
In Erin's cause come woe or weal,
'Mid cannon's roar and rifle's peal
We'll chant a Soldier's Song.

In valley green and towering crag
Our fathers fought before us,
They conquered 'neath that same old Flag
That's proudly floating o'er us ;
We're children of a fighting race
That never yet has known disgrace,
And as we march the foe to face,
We'll chant a Soldier's Song.

Sons of the Gael, Men of the Pale,
The long-watched day is breaking,
The serried ranks of Innisfail
Have set our tyrants quak'ing;
Our camp fires now are burning low,
See in the east a crimson glow ;
Out yonder lies our Saxon foe,
Then chant a Soldier's Song.

[For singing this song, men and women have, been imprisoned in Ireland. At the same time, Mr. William Morris
Hughes and Mr. Lloyd George were greeted several times by the inspiring "March of the Men of Harlech," a song
of the Welsh national spirit, and a war-cry against its oppressor. Nor was there any attempt made to suppress
"Scots wha Hae," the musical expression of the Scotch national spirit and a call to repel the invader. Strange
to relate, the foe in all the songs is the same.]


From the Melbourne Newspaper the Advocate Saturday 1 November 1919 p. 9.

This song was composed in 1907, with words by Peadar Kearney and music by Kearney and Patrick Heeney. It was first published in Irish Freedom by Bulmer Hobson in 1912. It was used as marching song by the Irish Volunteers and was sung by rebels in the General Post Office during the Easter Rising of 1916.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory