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Around, around, around,

Sweet Billy boy, dear Billy:

The fires come rising in the West

Na tinte ag ardú in Iarthar.

And I must sleep and go to rest,

Sweet Billy, darlin’ Billy.


The sound, the sound,

Of the pipes come sweetly calling:

Over Ballykelly and Glenmatyre

Milis thagann ardú ar an aer.

Sleep, sleep by the campfire,

Billy, O sweet Billy.


Our hopes are fading, falling,

Your father looks not well:

Your sisters keep unto their room

Bogadh ón am atá caite ar an todhchaí

A dagger will hasten on their doom

If your army fails us, Billy Boy.


The shades are falling, calling,

Down from the mountains, Billy:

No more do the wild trumpets ring

Sin le bás in Éirinn ina ghlóir … onóir!

We have lost again, lost everything,

Sweet Billy, Oh … sweet Billy!





Gaelic lines in the poem, by stanza:


1. The fires (come) rising in the west.

2. Sounds rise up gently in the air.

3. We drift along from past to future.

4. To die for Ireland is a glory … an honour.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

thanks for the wiki link. though that link link is scrutinized it is improving its services and is a good tool to begin with.


the battles in europe are so fascinaing. also something going on there. american history classes and history classes lessons in grammar schools taught mostly the disscovery of the USA by the Spanish(Espanola) or Spain's Christopher Columbus and those of the surviving Armada's vessels. then we were taught about the revelution, the war of 1812 with mexico, battles with american natives, and the civil war 1860-1865. after that history melts together thru out the world. we learn in history of colleges called universities rest of the world i think people are tsaught more accurate history lessons then. i wouldv paid more attention in school to history if stuff like this was taught.



as for your poem a great wee bit of writing. it relects its own personality and cnept tp0o someone who might have been there to experience that conflict.





Larsen M. Callirhoe

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Your eloquence captures the essence of that time perfectly. A deceptive lilt and word-craft echoes the despair and uncertainty that war brings-- in a unique and Irish way. A poem most worthy of a place in the tradition. Ben.

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A very, very good poem, Brendan, that's rife with lyricism and allusion. I love how you included the refrain-like Irish language lines and the respective translations in notes. Especially memorable:


... Your sisters keep unto their room

Bogadh ón am atá caite ar an todhchaí

A dagger will hasten on their doom

If your army fails us, Billy Boy ....

Terrific work!



Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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David W. Parsley

Put me on the fan list for this one, Brendan. Finds a person where he lives, in the tradition of old ballads. I perceive you can take the man out of Ireland, but you can't take Ireland out of the man. Memorable work.


- Dave

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