The Croppy Boy


It was early, early all in the spring
The birds did whistle and sweetly sing
Changing their notes from tree to tree
And the song they sang was old Ireland free

It was early, early all in the night
The yoeman cavalry gave me a fright
The yoeman cavalry were my downfall
And taken was I by Lord Cornwall

As I was walking up Wexford Hill
Oh, who would blame me to cry my fill?
I looked behind and I looked before
But my aged mother I shall see no more

As I was walking up Wexford Street
My own first cousin I chanced to meet
My own first cousin did me betray
And for one bare guinea sold my life away

As I was mounted on the platform high
My aged father was standing by
My aged father did me deny
And the name he gave me was the croppy boy

It was in Dungannon this young man died
And in Dungannon his body lies
So all good people who do pass by
Just drop a tear for the croppy boy

There are versions of this song all over Ireland. The term croppy is said to be a nickname given to the rebels of Wexford because of their close-cropped hair, and for many generations the term was synonymous with rebel. In another version the croppy boy does not die at the end but goes into exile.