Boyne Water (II), The
DESCRIPTION: "July the First, of a morning clear, on thousand six hundred and ninety, King William did his men prepare...." The forces of James and William clash; Schomberg is killed; William's forces win the battle; Protestants are urged to plaise God
EARLIEST DATE: 1845 (Duffy)
LONG DESCRIPTION: July the First, of a morning clear," 1690, King William and 30000 men faced King James near the Boyne. They advanced to "Lillibalero." When Duke Schomberg was killed William said, "my boys, feel no dismay at the losing of one commander For God shall be our king this day, and I'll be general under." William's forces formed a body bridge to cross the Boyne. Dermot Roe fled. Lord Galmoy advanced but "never three from ten of them escaped." The French were battered. Prince Eugene advanced against James's forces who ran away because "the brandy ran so in their heads." The Enniskillen men were restrained from following the fleeing Jacobite forces; in contrast, though James would have tried to restrain them, "had the Papists gain'd the day, there would have been open murder."
KEYWORDS: battle Ireland royalty rebellion drink
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.
April-July, 1689 - Siege of Londonderry. James's forces fail to capture the Protestant stronghold, leaving Ireland still "in play" for William
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: Ireland US(SE)
REFERENCES (10 citations):
OrangeLark 9, "The Boyne Water" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hayward-Ulster, pp. 117-119, "The Battle of the Boyne" (1 text, mixing this and "The Boyne Water (I)")
PGalvin, pp. 14-15, "The Battle of the Boyne" (1 text)
Graham, p. 8, "The Boyne Water" (1 text, 1 tune)
Rosenbaum, pp. 64-65, "King William, Duke Shambo" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Charles Gavan Duffy, editor, The Ballad Poetry of Ireland (1845), pp. 248-249, "The Boyne Water"
Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), pp. 249-250, "The Boyne Water"
H. Halliday Sparling, Irish Minstrelsy (London, 1888), pp. 13-14, 448-450, "The Boyne Water"
Charles Sullivan, ed., Ireland in Poetry, pp. 105-106, "The Boyne Water" (1 text)
Thomas Kinsella, _The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse_ (Oxford, 1989), pp. 179-180, "The Boyne Water" (1 text)
ST PGa014 (Partial)
cf. "The Battle of the Boyne (I)" (subject: The Battle of the Boyne) and references there
cf. "King William and King James" (story and some text; tune similar)
NOTES: "[On the Duleek road during the retreat,] there was a small riot when some men broke ranks and smashed open barrels of spirits and proceeded in a number of cases to become very drunk" (source: Michael McNally, Battle of the Boyne 1690: the Irish Campaign for the English Crown (Oxford, 2005), p.86). For another ballad with the theme of drink after a loss see "The Boys of Wexford."
Viscount Galmoy's mounted regiment joined the French brigade, Maxwell's dragoons and Sarsfield's horse. When James left the field Sarsfield's and Maxwell's regiments were sent to protect him, leaving Galmoy's among the inadequate force left to counteract the Williamite cavalry. (source: McNally, p. 86)
I found no reference in McNally to McDermott Roe or Prince Eugene of Savoy in this battle. [Since McDermott Roe lived in the era of the Defenders, a century after the Boyne, he obviously was not there. Eugene was at least alive at this time, but he was making his reputation in Italy at the time. I think this is an extended confusion -- Eugene worked with Marlborough, and Marlborough with William III and Anne. - RBW]
Of the songs collected since Duffy I know of only one that is clearly the "old version." Art Rosenbaum, in Folk Visions & Voices (1983) prints "King William, Duke Shambo, collected in Georgia in 1980 (p. 65).
The last two verses of Hayward-Ulster, pp. 117-119, "The Battle of the Boyne" [version I] are from "the old version": the Prince Eugene reference and "Now, praise God, all true Protestants...."
Was Prince Eugene at the Battle of the Boyne? McNally, quoted above, does not mention him. Neither does Ellis [Peter Barresford Ellis, The Boyne Water: the Battle of the Boyne, 1690 (London, 1976)], nor Plunket [ascribed to Nicholas Plunket, Derry and the Boyne: a contemporary Catholic account of the Siege of Derry, the Battle of the Boyne, and the general condition of Ireland in the Jacobite war (Belfast, c1990)]. McKay says, "soon after the [antiFrench coalition] alliance was signed [June 1690] Eugene, now promoted to general of cavalry, arrived in Turin with his close friend Commercy to take command of five regiments of Imperial troops being transferred to Italy'; he fought against the French at Staffarda 18 August 1690 [Derek McKay, Prince Eugene of Savoy (London, c1977), pp. 33, 270.] - BS
(I have also checked several sources for the Boyne, including notably G. A. Hayes-McCoy, Irish Battles: A Military History of Ireland, Barnes & Noble, 1969, 1997, and none of them mention Eugene being at the Boyne. It is clear he was not. Possibly the song was inspired by one of the Wild Geese who later fought against Eugene on the continent? - RBW)
For background on the Battle of the Boyne, see "The Battle of the Boyne (I)." For the relationship between this song and "The Boyne Water (I)" (which are much confused because both begin "July the First" and refer to many of the same events), see the notes to "The Boyne Water (I)." - 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 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.