Orange Lily-o, The
DESCRIPTION: Did you go to the flower show? The prize is won by the Orange Lily. "The Viceroy there was so debonair ... And Lady Clarke" approached Ireland's Orange Lily.
EARLIEST DATE: c.1895 (Graham)
KEYWORDS: Ireland flowers political
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (3 citations):
OLochlainn 70, "The Orange Lily-o" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hayward-Ulster, p. 116, "The Orange Lily-O" (1 text)
Graham, p. 7, "The Orange Lily, O!" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES [545 words]: Georges Denis Zimmermann, Songs of Irish Rebellion , 2nd ed. (2002), p. 303: "The great emblem of the [Orangemen], the Orange lily, is celebrated like the shamrock in nationalist songs. [Fn.45 'The Orange Lily O!' in The Protestant or True Blue, pp. 45-46, and in every Orange song book thereafter.]"
What message is hidden here?
OLochlainn: "I heard an older and more pungent ballad but could not find it printed. All I remember is 'D'ye think I would let, a -- Fenian -- Destroy one flower of the Lily O?"
The "Songs Collected by Donagh MacDonagh" site has two versions. The first version is, essentially, the same as OLochlainn 70. A long description of version 2, as far as I can state it is:
At the show Lady Clarke approaches the lily. The viceroy is reluctant to give it the prize. Sir Charley is also unhappy but "horse master Billy" laughs to think his ex should be bothered by the lily. "With moistened eyes" the Viceroy gives the prize to the lily. "Toast the health of Billy" who won "on Boyne's red shore The Royal Orange Lily O!"
Which Viceroy and Lady Clarke? Who are Sir Charley and horse master Billy? And what is the Royal Orange Lily? And do these versions all refer to the same "flower show?"
The following notes, quoted with permission, are from John Moulden, researcher at the "Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change" at National University of Ireland, Galway whose subject is "the printed ballad in Ireland":
"I take it that it is a satire concerning the reluctance of one of the Lords Lieutenant of Ireland (aka the Viceroy) to award first prize at a flower show to an Orange Lily. The distaste of the Victorian establishment for the Orange Order was much the same as today.
"The Orange Lily was a symbol of the Royal House of Orange, official or not, but clearly adopted as such in Ireland.
"Specifics are a bit more difficult - the likelihood is that Lady Clarke was Olivia Owenson, sister of Lady Morgan; c. 1785-1845, and that therefore the Viceroy in question was one of: [See Wikipedia for the list of the 16 Viceroys from Philip Yorke, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke: 27 April 1801 to William Court, 1st Baron Heytesbury: 17 July 1844] but obviously after Lady Clarke's marriage and probably after 1819 when she had a very poor play acted in Dublin.
"Horse Master Billy may refer to the equestrian statue of William of Orange which stood in St. Stephen's Green in Dublin until being blown up in the (I THINK) 1830s.
"There is of course a possibility that the song refers to an event other than a flower show, such as a parade of ladies.
"The Chief Secretaries at the same times were: [a list of 22 between 1798 and 1845, including a number of "Sirs" and a number of "Charles"--Charles Abbot 1801-1802, Charles Long 1805-1806 and Charles Grant 1818-1821] but there are no Sir Charleys among them."
The last verse from Graham may refer to King William: "Then come, brave boys, and share her joys, and toast the health of Willy, O! Who bravely wore, on Boyne's red shore, the Royal Orange Lily, O!" That is reminiscent of the last verse sometimes sung to "The Aughalee Heroes": "And when that we landed in Aughalee, Our brandy in gallons did shine, The toast we often repeated Was to William that crossed the Boyne." - BS
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