Roddy McCorley

A very different version than the one popularized by the Clancy brothers and Tommy Makem.

Come all you true-hearted Christians, come listen unto me,
While I relate these verses great, these verses two or three,
Concerning of a clever youth cut off in all his bloom,
He died upon the scaffold high all on the Bridge of Toom.

His growth was like the poplar tree that does ascend the air,
And hanging waving o'er his shoulders were links of golden hair,
This youth was born in sweet Dundee and reared most tenderly
Till desolation did come on by cruel perjury.

The boy was chased from place to place as David was of old,
He had no place of residence, his lodgings they were cold,
Which caused young Roddy for to stand beneath a spreading thorn,
Sighing and saying "Alas the day that ever I was born."

Farewell unto you sweet Dundee, if in you I had stayed
Among the Presbyterians I'd ne'er have been betrayed,
The gallows tree I ne'er would see had I continued there,
'Twas Duffy that betrayed me, MacErland laid the snare."

"Taken I was and then conveyed to Ballymena jail,
Laden with strong irons, for me they'd take no bail,
I must wait till the court-martial arrives to seal my doom
And marches me all in my youth down to the Bridge of Toom."

When he came to the place the gallows to ascend
He looked East and he looked West to view his loving friends,
He turned around unto the North and cried out "Cruel Sam,
It was you that proved my overthrow and left me where I am."

"First the father's life you took and second was the son,
The mother tore her old grey hair saying "Alas I am undone."
You took from her her property, her houses and her lands,
In the parish where she was wed she dare not even stand."

The abrupt ending here makes me think that there is a second,lost, page to this.

Another version contributed by Annraoi Ó Préith from
the singing of Roisín County Antrim

Come tenderhearted Christians
Attention pay to me,
'Til I relate and communicate
Of a mournful tragedy;
Concerning of a clever youth
Who was cut down in his bloom,
And died upon the gallows tree
Near to the Bridge of Toome.

The hero that I speak of
Was proper, tall and straight,
Like to the lofty poplar tree,
His body was complete;
His growth was like the tufted fir
That does ascend the air,
And a-waving o'er his shoulders broad
The locks of yellow hair.

In sweet Duneane this youth was born
And reared up tenderly.
His parents educated him
All by their industry;
Both day and night they sorely toiled
All for their family,
'Til desolation it came on
By cruel perjury.

'Twas first the father's life they took
And secondly the son.
The mother tore her old grey locks
She says, "I am undone.
They took from me my family,
My house and all my land,
And in the parish where I was born
I dare not tread upon."

"Farewell unto you, sweet Drumaul
If in you I had stayed,
Among the Presbyterians
I ne'er would have been betrayed.
The gallows tree I'd ne'er have seen
Had I remainéd there,
For, Diffen you betrayed me
Mc Erlean, you set the snare."

They called upon an arméd band
And it came marching soon,
To guard this clever, tall, fair youth
Down to the Bridge of Toome;
And when young Roddy he came up
The scaffold to ascend,
He looked at East and looked at West
To view his loving friends.

Then turning round unto the North
He cried, "Oh, faithless friend !
It was you that proved my overthrow
And brought me to this end.
Since it's upon Good Friday that
I'll executed be
Convenient to the Bridge of Toome
All on the gallows tree."

At break of dawn he was conveyed
To Ballymena Town.
He was loaded there with irons strong,
His bed was the cold ground.
And there young Roddy he must wait
Until the hour has come
When the court martial does arrive
For to contrive his doom.

"In Ballyscullion I was betrayed
And woe unto the man
Who swore me a Defender
And a foe unto the Crown."
Which causes Roddy for to lie
Beneath yon spreading thorn.
He'll sigh and say "Alas the day
That ever I was born !"