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 Post subject: Brian Boy Magee -
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 12 Oct 2015 04:52 
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Location: South Pacific
Brian Boy Magee - Poem by "Anna Johnston MacManus"
I am Brian Boy Magee–
My father was Eoghain Bán–
I was wakened from happy dreams
By the shouts of my startled clan;
And I saw through the leaping glare
That marked where our homestead stood,
My mother swing by her hair–
And my brothers lie in their blood.

In the creepy cold of the night
The pitiless wolves came down–
Scotch troops from that Castle grim
Guarding Knockfergus Town
And they hacked and lashed and hewed
With musket and rope and sword,
Till my murdered kin lay thick
In pools by the Slaughter Ford.

I fought by my father's side,
And when we were fighting sore
We saw a line of their steel
With our shrieking women before;
The red-coats drove them on
To the verge of the Gobbins gray,
Hurried them–God! the sight!
As the sea foamed up for its prey.

Oh, tall were the Gobbins cliffs,
And sharp were the rocks, my woe!
And tender the limbs that met
Such terrible death below;
Mother and babe and maid
They clutched at the empty air,
With eyeballs widened in fright,
That hour of despair.

(Sleep soft in your heaving bed,
O little fair love of my heart!
The bitter oath I have sworn
Shall be of my life a part;
And for every piteous prayer
You prayed on your way to die,
May I hear an enemy plead
While I laugh and deny.)

In the dawn that was gold and red,
Ay, red as the blood-choked stream,
I crept to the perilous brink–
Great Christ! was the night a dream ?
In all the Island of Gloom
I only had life that day–
Death covered the green hill-sides,
And tossed in the Bay.

I have vowed by the pride of my sires–
By my mother's wandering ghost–
By my kinsfolk's shattered bones
Hurled on the cruel coast–
By the sweet dead face of my love,
And the wound in her gentle breast–
To follow that murderous band,
A sleuth-hound who knows no rest.

I shall go to Phelim O'Neill
With my sorrowful tale, and crave
A blue-bright blade of Spain,
In the ranks of his soldiers brave.
And God grant me the strength to wield
That shining avenger well–
When the Gael shall sweep his foe
Through the yawning gates of Hell.

I am Brian Boy Magee!
And my creed is a creed of hate;
Love, Peace, I have cast aside–
But Vengeance, Vengeance I wait!
Till I pay back the four-fold debt
For the horrors I witnessed there,
When my brothers moaned in their blood,
And my mother swung by her hair.

I can remember this heart wrenching poem from my school days..always left a bitter taste

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Boy Magee -
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 12 Oct 2015 08:27 
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Joined: 27 Mar 2009 15:43
Posts: 10935
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my word Reg that is a a touching poem over the plight of the irish folk and a damning poem of british cruelty of that era.

how much of it is true or poetic licence i wouldn't like to guess. i am sure that there will be references some place about knockfergus, gobbins ford and slaughter ford regarding true bits.

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Boy Magee -
Post Number:#3  PostPosted: 13 Oct 2015 03:32 
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Joined: 18 Nov 2008 21:50
Posts: 2739
Location: South Pacific
"Acknowledgement to "Joe Graham" for the following information"
Hi Tom... Follow up ...
Witness's to Massacre .
Taken before us, 9th April, 1653.
Her ANY + MAGILL mark
The examination of BRYAN MAGEE, aged twenty-eight or thereabouts, husbandman, of (illegible), in the county Down, taken at Lisnagarvey (Lios na gCearrbhach i.e. fort of the gamblers Lisbum), 21st of April, 1653,
Who saith that, about the 8th of January, 1641, this examt., then living in Islandmagee, in his father’s house, Owen Magee, in the night about bedtime some one knocked at the door, and this examt. ‘s mother opened it, and there came in Robert Brown, now living in the Isle Magee, and his son James, with their swords drawn, and several others of the neighbours, to the number of eleven and upwards, with pitchforks, staves, and other weapons, which said persons that are still living are as followeth:- William Gillis, of the Isle Magee, William Boyd and James Boyd of the same, Alexander McMaster and John McMaster, the elder and the younger, John Nelson, the son of James Nelson, and they killed at that time Jane, mother of this examt., and Margaret O’Camell, and Ever and Doltagh Magee, a sucking child, brothers to this examt., and Margaret and Mauria, sisters to this examt.; but this examt.’ father and himself and his two brothers, Konogher Magee and Turlough Magee, escaped out at the back door, and lay low upon the ground on their bellies for about the space of an hour, until the said Scotchmen were gone away, out of the house, and then they went and lighted some straw to see what was become of the said women and children, and found them all killed and weltering in their blood, and wounded in several places, and all their household goods taken away, so this examinant’s father, with his said two brothers and Bryan Buie Magee, who came round to them out of the next house, which was Donnell Magee’s and where the said Scotchmen had killed the said Doimell and about ten persons more the same evening, as the said Bryan Buie related to him, and they went all in that night to Knockfergus, and colonel Hill not being in the garrison, some Scotchmen took them out at the gate and killed his said father, and two brothers, and Brian Buie Magee that was wounded at Isle Magee the night before, but it pleased God that this examt. outran and escaped. And being demanded if any are yet living who escaped out of Donnell Magee’s house, saith that his son Turlough, who was wounded that evening, is now living in the Braid near (illegible).
The Examination of Elizabeth Gormally, of Dooncrue, widow, in the county of Antrim, who being sworn before us, saith,
That in the beginning of the rebellion, this examt. lived in the Irish quarter, near to the west port of Carrickfergus, and hearing a great noise, and seeing a great many people passing to and fro upon the walls, came out of her house to know what the matter was, and saw Brian Buie Magee coming from the key-gate, towards the said house; and this examt. further saith that a boy, who was a drummer belonging to the garrison of Carrickfergus, met him the said Bryan in the way, and with a Scotch whinyard [a short sword or dagger] gave him a stab under the right breast, and afterwards the said boy gave him another stab in the shoulder, and another under the left breast, whereupon he the said Brian ran hastily by this examt.’s door, and against the west corner of the said house, John McOwen met the said Brian, and with a crab-tree cudgel he, the said John MacOwen, had then in his hand, he struck the said Brian Magee two blows upon his head, so that he fell to the ground, and that then the said John MacOwen left him, after which the said Brian Magee was stripped naked, and then one John Nelson came up to him and drew out his sword, and thrust it through the neck of the said Brian Magee, cutting his throat, and the cause of this examt.’s knowledge of this is that she was present in the place and saw it. And further saith not.
Taken before us, May, 1653, SAM. BONELL.
Elizabeth + Gormally.

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