[The number of Irish "rebel" songs is enormous, and they
range from the god-awfull to the wonderful.
The "Felons of our Land" belongs, I think, to the second category.
The line,"a felon's cap is the noblest crown an Irish head can wear",
breathes the true spirit of revolutionary politics
- and not alone of Irish republican but of
revolutionary socialist politics too.]
Fill up once more, we`ll drink a toast to comrades far away,
No nation upon earth can boast of braver hearts than they,
And though they sleep in dungeons deep, or flee outlawed and banned
We love them yet, we can`t forget, the Felons of our Land.
In boyhood`s bloom and manhoods pride fordoomed by alien laws,
Some on the scaffold proudly died, for holy Ireland`s cause,
And brothers say, shall we, today, unmoved by cowards stand,
While traitors shame and foes defame, the Felons of our Land.
Some in the convicts dreary cell, have found a living tomb,
And some unseen untended fell within the dungeons`s gloom,
But what care we, although it be, trod by a ruffian band,
God bless the clay where rest today the Felons of our Land.
Let cowards mock and tyrants frown, ah little do we care,
A Felon`s cap is the noblest crown an Irish head can wear
And every Gael in Inishfail, who scorns the serf`s vile brand,
From Lee to Boyne, would gladly join the Felons of our Land.
* A felon is a convict, here one convicted for political crime.
Many in the 19th Century were deported "far away", for instance,
to Van Dieman's Land (now: Tasmania).
* Inisfail is one of the many
poetic names for Ireland.