King William and King James
DESCRIPTION: James vows to take London. William is sorry so many of James's army will be slain. James's general goes down. Don't be dismayed, he says, at losing a commander; his son will lead. William offers friendship to the defeated Scots: end this awful slaughter.
EARLIEST DATE: 1964 (Moore-Southwest)
KEYWORDS: battle Ireland royalty rebellion
1685-1688 - Reign of James II (James VII of Scotland), the last Catholic king of Britain
1688 - Glorious Revolution overthrows James II in favour of his Protestant daughter Mary II and her husband and first cousin William III of Orange
Mar 12, 1689 - James arrives in Ireland and begins, very hesitantly, to organize its defense.
August, 1689 - Marshal Schomberg brings the first of William's troops to Ireland. James continues to be passive, allowing more troops to reinforce them
March, 1690 - James receives reinforcements from France but still does nothing
June 14, 1690 - William lands in Ireland
July 1, 1690 - Battle of the Boyne. William III crushes the Irish army of James, at once securing his throne and the rule of Ireland. Irish resistance continues for about another year, but Ireland east of the Shannon is his, and the opposition is doomed.
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Moore-Southwest 64B, "King William and King James" (1 text, 1 tune)
cf. "The Boyne Water (I)" (story and references there)
cf. "The Boyne Water (II)" (story)
NOTES: Moore-Southwest shares little with the other Orange texts on the battle but the little it shares is worth noting.
First, the story should be: William is wounded but is not seriously, but Schomberg, commanding William's forces, is killed; at that point William says to his Orange troops, "be not dismay'd For the losing of one commander, For God will be our king this day, And I'll be general under" (Bodleian broadside Harding B 11(186)). Moore-Southwest reverses the story, having James saying "Fight on brave boys; don't be discouraged For the loss of me as commander... Today my son shall be your king, He'll be your gentle commander."
Second, Moore-Southwest has William say "Let's be good friends forevermore, And quit this awful slaughter." I have found only one other of the Boyne Water texts that mentions the "slaughter" and, as it happens, that one verse text has William say "don't be dismayed on losing a commander": the American text reported by Korson and included in the notes to "The Boyne Water" (I). Maybe Moore-Southwest and Korson share a source. - BS
There appear to be a few other confusions as well. James of course hoped to return to London if he won the Battle of the Boyne, but for the moment, the best he could probably hope for was to take Dublin. So either the name of the town is wrong or the battle is wrong. And James's son the Old Pretender was still a babe in arms, unable to lead in his father's place. This song is clearly badly damaged, and from what Ben says, I suspect it was damaged before it showed up in the U.S., but with the mess getting worse in America where no one except the Irish remembered the Glorious Revolution. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.3
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.