The Orange Lilly "O"

The Orange Lilly "O"

Saturday, 14 May 2011

THE BATTLE OF THE DIAMOND (Circa 1795)

It was not in faction, it was not in hate,
That we men of the North assembled;
It was that our own and our children's fate,
In the balance no longer trembled.

For there came - 'twas at night, a lawless band,
Their ranks like a torrent swelling,
With the weapon of slaughter in each man's hand,
Where we in our homes, were dwelling.

Darkly they came, in the dead of night,
They gave no word of warning,
And they laughed at the blaze their brands should light,
And the smoke that should greet the morning.

They paused did they fear the storm they'd woke?
That they faltered as forth we sallied?
For we saw when the light of the morning broke,
On the Diamond Hill they'd rallied.

What though they were many, and we but few,
Yet each to the conflict hasted,
And the shot was sharp, and the aim was true,
While that fearful struggle lasted.

Yes, last it did - aye, many a day!
But the shield of our God was o'er us;
Till at last, like a quarry long held at bay,
We drove them like chaff before us.

Then blame us not, when all was o'er,
And we looked on the dead around us,
If then, and for ever, an oath we swore,
To be found as that day had found us.

Stern and steadfast, and linked as one,
On God and ourselves relying;
Seeking quarrel or feud with none,
But all on our hearths defying.

Traverse who will that wretched land,
Now rife with revolt and riot;
And where'er ye shall hear of our loyal band
There alone shall ye find it quiet.

Yes! cold suspicion, and scoff, and scorn,
And caiumny, have assailed us;
Aye! hard though it was - all these we've borne,
Not once have our true hearts failed us.

We have bided our time - it is well nigh come!
It will find us stern and steady;
It will need not to rouse us with trumpet or drum,
For our hearts and our arms are ready.


Note: "Not a Drum was Heard" is the correct air for this song,
however, as with many songs in our collection it remains a mystery.
The song itself is an account of a battle beween the Roman Catholic
"Defenders" and the Protestant "Peep o' Day Boys". The Defenders who
had some thirty men killed were frustrated in their intention to expel
the Protestants from Co. Armagh. The Protestants won without loss of
life, and, shortly after founded the Loyal Orange Institution of
Ireland, which remains a strong part of Unionism and Protestantism
in Ireland. (The Orange Lark)

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