It Was A' For Our Rightful' King
DESCRIPTION: "It was a' for our rightfu' king We left fair Scotland's strand; It was a' for our rightfu' king We e'er saw Irish land...." "Now a' is done that men can do, And a' is done in vain." The defeated soldier must leave his love and go into exile
AUTHOR: Robert Burns?
EARLIEST DATE: 1796 (Scots Musical Museum)
KEYWORDS: Jacobites soldier separation exile
1685-1688 - Reign of James II (James VII of Scotland), the last Catholic king of Britain
1688 - Glorious Revolution overthrows James II in favor 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; James flees the country, and many of his followers also depart into exile, to become the "Wild Geese" of Irish legend
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Hogg1 15, "It Was A' For Our Rightfu' King" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: James Kinsley, editor, Burns: Complete Poems and Songs (shorter edition, Oxford, 1969) #589, p. 694-695, "It was a' for our rightfu' king" (1 text, 1 tune, from the Scots Musical Museum)
Charles Sullivan, ed., Ireland in Poetry, p. 89, "The Farewell" (1 text)
Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #196, "The Farewell" (1 text)
Robert Chambers, The Scottish Songs (Edinburgh, 1829), Vol I, p. 124, "It Was A' For Our Rightfu' King"
ST SMM5IWAF (Full)
cf. "Mally Stewart" (tune)
NOTES: Was this song written by Burns or collected by him?
Hogg1: "This song is tradtionally said to have been written by Captain Ogilvie, related to the house of Inverquharity, who was with King James in his Irish expedition, and was in the battle of the Boyne." - BS
It appears very likely that Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) knew some form of this piece as a very young man. One of his earliest poems, written while he was still a schoolboy, is called "The Two Brothers," and the opening is quite similar to "The Twa Brothers" [Child 49]; it begins
There were two brothers at Twyford school,
And when they had left the place,
It was, "Will ye learn Greek and Latin?
Or will ye run me a race?
Or will ye go up to yonder bridge,
And there will we angle for dace?"
Later verses are more reminiscent of "Edward" [Child 13] or "Lizzie Wan" [Child 51]:
"Oh what bait's that upon your hook,
Dear brother, tell to me?"
"It is my younger brother," he cried,
"Oh woe and dole is me?"
[ ... ]
"And when will you come back again,
My brother, tell to me?"
"When chub is good for human food,
And that will never be!"
The final verse might be from "It Was A' For Our Rightful' King" or similar:
She turned herself right round about,
And her heart brake into three,
Said, "One of the two will be wet through and through,
And 'tother'll be late for his tea."- RBW
Last updated in version 3.1
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.