The Croppy Boy

Traditional

Audio

This example of "The Croppy Boy" is performed by Mary Smith
Please refer to Cantaria's Copyright information

sheet music (toggle as desired for printing)

staff notation for song

Background notes

There are many versions of this Irish song that dates back to the 1798 Rebellion.  "Croppy" is a disparaging nickname given Wexford rebels because of their close-cropped hair, and came to be synonymous with "rebel".  In another version the croppy boy does not die at the end but goes into exile. 

For more information on croppy boys, see the Wikipedia articles on croppy and the Irish Rebellion of 1798

It was early, early 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 in the night, 
The yeoman cavalry gave me a fright; 
The yeoman cavalry was my downfall 
And I was taken by Lord Cornwall. 

'Twas in the guard-house where I was laid, 
And in a parlour where I was tried; 
My sentence passed and my courage low 
When to Dungannon I was forced to go. 

As I was passing my father's door 
My brother William stood at the door; 
My aged father stood at the door 
And my tender mother her hair she tore. 

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

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

And as I mounted 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. 
And you good people that do pass by 
Oh shed a tear for the Croppy Boy.