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   The soldiers in the Market Place

   The judge is in the Town,

   For Justice stern-faced handmade law

   Now wears its darkest frown,

   'Tis a year of tears and troubles

   'Tis a year of blood and hate,

   Of blackened hearths, and roofless homes

   'Tis the Year of 98,

   For the prisoners, to the courthouse

   The soldiers cleared the way,

   For the fate of two young lives

   Must be decided on today,

   For heavy as a thunderbolt

   Quick as the lightning flash,

   Upon the patriot plot has fallen

   The English vengence flash,.

   Through swaying crowds of clansmen

   The youthful rebels pass,

   But not an arm is raised to save

   Stand mute, each gallow lad,

   Tis over now,

   The foremans' lips have spoke the fatal words,

   And from without, that silent crowd

   A womans' voice is heard,

   Oh hear my Lord, O' Judgesthore

   Ye'll give me leave to speak,

   They're all I have

   God help me now,

   Their mother , old and weak,

   Himself, is dead my Lord

   These long , long, weary years,

   And the love of them two boys'

   Is all this poor old widow cheers,

   And one of them, is not my own

   His mother died and left him a garsoon.,

   But sure, I love them both my Lord

   O' save them both aroon,

   And may the heavens be your bed

   May all the Saints look down and bless ye

   And you'll have the prayers of all that's in this Town,

   The Judge was moved with pity,

   But duty, tied him down,

   He tried in vain ,to steel his heart,

   He tried in vain, to frown,

   These boys are all you say you have,

     They toil that you may live,

   The mercy that I can not show

   Tis life to one I' ll give,

   Which life is spared, depends on you

   So take your choice, you must,

   Your husbands child,whose Mother is no more

   Or him to whom, the sire of both,

   Within your bosom bore,

   Ah, cruel choice

   Ah, bitter task

   She bowed her aged head

   Some bitter tears , coarsed down her cheek,

   Then she looked up and said,

   O, Judgealana, choose yourself

   Which life you're pleased to save,

   For if I send one to death

   I'd not sleep quiet, in my grave,

   Good woman , I can do no more

   One dies, is just and right,

   Which life is spared depends on you,

   One moment more, and then she spoke

   O' Mike my darling boy,

   You know it's not, I love you less

   I'd die for you with joy,

   But Paddys' Mothers gone asthore

   He has none to take his part,

   So him , I choose

   Ah Mike this day, tis broken , is my heart,

   And sure tis, you will see her soon

   God bless you Mike aroon,

   And tell her Mike

   I saved her Boy,

   God bless you, Mike aroon

   A cheer arose

   From out the crowd,

   The peoples' eyes grow sober

   The Judges' eyes grow dim,

   Take both your sons, you noble heart

   You shall not weep for them,

   Then to the prisoners, go he said

   For if Irish hearts be true,

   Learn , that with English Justice Rule,

   Shall mingle mercy too .     


   (author unknown)

 This piece recited by memory by my Mother, Dorothy Howley ( nee Clifford.) This is one of a number of recitations that she learned as a young girl from listening to her Mother, Bridget Lillian Clifford. Dorothy Howley brn. 1910, Bridget brn 1865. This piece has now been recited in the family for well over 100 years.

   John Howley, 3 Dec. 1997.

Contributed by John Joseph Howley of Ontario, Canada. His mother, who learnt it from her mother, recited it verbatim to him. This is a fine example of stories that survive in the oral tradition.

The Year of '98

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