Jackets Green – Irish Songs
When I was a maiden fair and young,
On the pleasant banks of Lee,
No bird that in the greenwood sung,
Was half so blithe and free.
My heart ne’er beat with flying feet,
No love sang me his queen,
Till down the glen rode Sarsfield’s men,
And they wore the jackets green.
Young Donal sat on his gallant grey
Like a king on a royal seat,
And my heart leaped out on his regal way
To worship at his feet.
O Love, had you come in those colours dressed,
And wooed with a soldier’s mein
I’d have laid my head on your throbbing breast
For the sake of your jacket green.
No hoarded wealth did my love own,
Save the good sword that he bore;
But I loved him for himself alone
And the colour bright he wore.
For had he come in England’s red
To make me England’s queen,
I’d rove the high green hills instead
For the sake of the Irish green.
When William stormed with shot and shell
At the walls of Garryowen,
In the breach of death my Donal fell,
And he sleeps near the Treaty Stone.
That breach the foeman never crossed
While he swung his broadsword keen;
But I do not weep my darling lost,
For he fell in his jacket green.
When Sarsfield sailed away I wept
As I heard the wild ochone.
I felt, then dead as the men who slept
‘Neath the fields of Garryowen.
White Ireland held my Donal blessed,
No wild sea rolled between,
Till I would fold him to my breast
All robed in his Irish green.
My soul has sobbed like waves of woe,
That sad o’er tombstones break,
For I buried my heart in his grave below,
For his and for Ireland’s sake.
And I cry. “Make way for the soldier’s bride
In your halls of death, sad queen
For I long to rest by my true love’s side
And wrapped in the folds of green.”
I saw the Shannon’s purple tide
Roll by the Irish town,
As I stood in the breach by Donal’s side
When England’s flag went down.
And now it lowers when I seek the skies,
Like a blood red curse between.
I weep, but ’tis not women’s sighs
Will raise our Irish green.
Oh, Ireland, said is thy lonely soul,
And loud beats the winter sea,
But sadder and higher the wild waves roll
O’er the hearts that break for thee.
Yet grief shall come to our heartless foes,
And their thrones in the dust be seen,
So, Irish Maids, love none but those
Who wear the jackets green.