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Booker's Run (1866)

AIR--"The King of the Cannibal Islands."

Oh, list and hear, good friends, from, me,
The news that's just come o'er, the sea,
About the light-legged company,
Led on by Colonel Booker,
The "Queen's Own Regiment" was their name,
From fair Toronto town they came,
To put the Irish all to shame,
And win themselves immortal fame.
Tantara, rubadub, oh, hi-ho !
Drums beat up and bugles, blow;
Off they march to meet the foe,
The Queen's and Colonel Booker.

Such fury filled each loyal mind,
No Volunteer would stay behind ;
They flung their red flag to the wind.
"Hurra, my boys,' said Booker,
"Behold, beyond yon sloping height,
Their bayonets flashing in the light ;
Go forth, my heroes, left and, right,
Let none among them live to-night--
Readily, steadly, oh, hi-ho,
Sure your aim and strong your blow,
No Irish ruck could face, you know,
The Queen's and Colonel Booker."

The rifles flashed, the balls, came by,
The Queen's men fell with groan and cry.
"Good lord I'd give the world that I
Were safe at home," said Booker.
He spurred for shelter here and there,
He wheeled and cantered to the rear,
While every loyal Volunteer ;
Was shaking in his boots with fear.
Quailing, failing, oh, hi-ho,
Afraid to face the Irish foe,
Who cheered and laughed to see the show,
The Queen's and Colonel Booker.

"What sound is that comes on the breeze ?
Are those their horsemen midst the, trees ?
Down, soldiers, down, upon your knees
To meet their charge," said Booker.
Then turning quick, he fled the place,
He wished, he said, to "change his base,"
His soldiers joined him in the race,
And all went off at railroad pace ;
Helter, skelter, oh, hi-ho,
Higgedly, piggledy, there they go,
Swords and guns away they throw,
The Queen's and Colonel Booker.

Oh, never say the Indian breed
Bear off the palm for wind and speed ;
What dusky chief could take a lead
From loyal Colonel Booker ?
Bid him bring out, by day or night,
His gallant "Queen's," equipped for fight,
Place Colonel John O'Neill in sight
Amidst a ridge of bayonets bright--
Then give the word, and oh, hi-ho,
See how they'll fly the Irish foe,
See how they'll ply the heel and toe,
The Queen's and Colonel Booker.

--Nation. T. D. S.


From the Sydney newspaper Freeman's Journal 25 Aug 1866 p. 539.

From Wikipedia -- The Battle of Ridgeway was fought in the vicinity of the town of Fort Erie across the Niagara River from Buffalo, New York, near the village of Ridgeway, Canada West, currently Ontario, Canada, on June 2, 1866, between Canadian troops and an irregular
army of Irish-American invaders, the Fenians. It was the largest engagement of the Fenian Raids, the first modern industrial-era
battle to be fought by Canadians and the first to be fought only by Canadian troops and led exclusively by Canadian officers.
The action at Ridgeway has the distinction of being the only armed victory for the cause of
Irish independence between 1798 and 1919.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory