O'Donnell Abu

Melody -

Michael Joseph McCann, c. 1843

Proudly the note of the trumpet is sounding
Loudly the war-cries arise on the gale
Fleetly the steed by Lough Sweighly is bounding
To join the six squadrons on Saimier's green vale!
On every mountaineer! Strangers to flight or fear!
Rush to the standard of dauntless Red Hugh!
Bonnaught and gallowglass, throng from each mountain pass!
Onward for Erin! O'Donnell Abu!

Princely O'Neill to our aid is advancing
With many a chieftain and warrior clan!
A thousand proud steeds in his vanguard are prancing
'Neath the Borderers brave from the banks of the Ban!
Many a heart shall quail under his coat-of-mail,
Deeply the merciless foeman shall rue
When on his ear shall ring, borne on the breeze's wing
Tyr Connell's dread war cry: O'Donnell Abu!

Wily O'Desmond the war-wolf is howling
Fearless the eagle sweeps over the plain;
The fox in the streets of the city is prowling
And all who would conquer them are banished or slain!
On with O'Donnell then! Fight the good fight again!
Sons of Tyr Connell are valiant and true!
Make the proud Saxon feel Erin's avenging steel!
Strike for your country, O'Donnell Abu!

First published c. 1843 as "The Clanconnell War Song." "Red Hugh" O'Donnell's hatred of England was based on a personal experience; as a teenager, the English had gotten him drunk and taken him prisoner. He escaped a few years later (1591), but the unfair imprisonment affected his opinions for the rest of his life. The "O'Neill" of the song is Hugh, third Baron of Dungannon and second Earl of Tyrone, one of the greatest Anglo-Irish barons of the time (1551-1616). He became O'Neill in 1593. He cooperated with the English more than this song might imply, but the threat to his position (Tudor bureaucracy looked likely to overcome the ancient clan loyalties) eventually pushed him toward rebellion. If the rebellion could be said to have a commander (a debatable point), he was it.
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