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BRENNAN ON THE MOOR
Traditional

It's of a fearless highwayman a story now I'll tell:
His name was Willie Brennan, and in Ireland he did dwell;
'Twas on the Limerick mountains he commenced his wild career,
Where many a wealthy gentleman before him shook with fear;
    Brennan on the moor, Brennan on the moor,
    Bold and yet undaunted stood young Brennan on the moor.
 
A brace of loaded pistols he carried night and day,
He never robb'd a poor man upon the King's highway;
But what he's taken from the rich, like Turpin and Black Bess,
He always did divide it with the widow in distress.
 
One night he robbed a packman, his name was Pedlar Bawn;
They travelled on together, till day began to dawn;
The pedlar seeing his money gone, likewise his watch and chain,
He at once encountered Brennan and robbed him back again.
 
When Brennan saw the pedlar was as good a man as he,
He took him on the highway, his companion for to be;
The pedlar threw away his pack without any more delay,
And proved a faithful comrade until his dying day.
 
One day upon the highway Willie he sat down,
He met the Mayor of Cashel, a mile outside the town;
The Mayor he knew his features, 'I think, young man,' said he,
'Your name is Willie Brennan, you must come along with me.'
 
As Brennan's wife had gone to town provisions for to buy,
Where she saw her Willie, she began to weep and cry;
He says, 'Give me that tenpance;' as soon as Willie spoke,
She handed him the blunderbuss from underneath her cloak.
 
Then with his loaded blunderbuss, the truth I will unfold,
He made the Mayor to tremble, and robbed him of his gold;
One hundred pounds was offered for his apprehension there,
And with his horse and saddle to the mountains did repair.
 
Then Brennan being an outlaw upon the mountain high,
Where cavalry and infantry to take him they did try,
He laughed at them with scorn, until at length, it's said,
By a false-hearted young man he was basely betrayed.
 
In the County of Tipperary, in a place they call Clonmore,
Willie Brennan and his comrade that day did suffer sore;
He lay among the fern which was thick upon the field,
And nine wounds he had received before that they did yield.
 
Then Brennan and his companion knowing they were betrayed,
He with the mounted cavalry a noble battle made;
He lost his foremost finger, which was shot off by a ball;
So Brennan and his comrades they were taken after all.
 
So they were taken prisoners, in irons they were bound,
And conveyed to Clonmel jail, strong walls did them surround;
They were tried and found guilty, the judge made this reply.
'For robbing on the King's highway you are both condemned to die.'
 
Farewell unto my wife, and to my children three,
Likewise my ged father, he may shed tears for me.
And to my loving mother, who tore her gray locks and cried,
Saying 'I wish, Willie Brennan, in your cradle you had died.
Footnote : This Irish traditional song was popular during the Scottish Folk Revival. Willie Brennan was a famous Irish highwayman who operated in the Kilworth Mountains, County Cork. He was a Robin Hood/ Rob Roy type of figure and was hanged in 1804.

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