MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
O’Donnell’s Execution
Pat Critch NFLD 2 Tape 11 Track 8
Flatrock Audio:

(Recited, then verse sung)

All you sons of Eryin's isle come listen unto me
I’m sure when you will hear my song with me you will agree
Condemned by English furies with features grim and bold
They sent eight innocent Irishmen to a dungeon dark and cold

Of that great crime in _______ no doubt you all have heard
The trying of these prisoners you know well what occurred
James Kerry the informer these precious lies he sold
He sent them to an awful doom for a bit of English gold

To escape a speedy vengeance James Kerry had to roam
All wit’ his wife and family he left his native home
All for to seek seclusion in the lands far o'er the sea
He sailed on the Melrose castle for the shores of Afrikay

It bein' on the twenty-ninth day of July the ship was near the shore
Where the passengers from the forecastle they heard an awful roar
They rushed down to the cabin and when they reached the spot
That brutal fatal Kerry he received a battle shot

These noble lives are now revenged the informer he is dead
The avenger Pat O'Donnell he lies on his prison bed
Condemned by English tyrants until his day of trial
He’s tried like other Irishmen in unjust English style

The first day of September he ______________
The first day of September for the murder he was tried
When he saw judge Bentham on the bench all hopes within him died
His counsel they were able men to free him hard they tried
The jury found him guilty and meant that he should die

The day of his execution was a hard sight for to see
His friends were at the prison gate they would weep most bitterly
At the lone sight of the gallows he did neither flinch nor cry
A martyr for his native land how nobly he did die

The first day of November he was sentenced to be hung
All over the universe the dreadful tidings ran
And all the _______ aIl the ________no
Fourth day of September ___________
First day of September _________ November he was sentenced to be hung
All over the universe these dreadful tidings ran
In every cot in Eryin's isle great sorrows did prevail
The friends of Pat O'Donnell his misfortune did bewail

Now he's dead he's laid to rest let honour be his name
Let no one look upon him with scorn or disdain
His impulse it is human which no one can deny
I hope he'll be forgiven by the infinite Lord on high

If every son in Eryin's Isle had such a heart as he
Soon they'd set their native land once more to ____ on ___ once more at liberty
They'd unfurl their flag unto the British their rights they would redeem
In unity and friendship in the lands far over the sea

You never hear that have you?
LEACH: What's the air to that?
CRITCH: [Sings first verse over]
Now all you sons _________ cold


Text: This text relates how Pat O’Donnell was executed for murder. He killed James Kerry, an informant for the English who caused many arrests of Irishmen under British law. The composer is sympathetic to O’Donnell, feeling that his actions were nationalistic not criminal.

Tune: Full text recited and then the first verse sung.

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