“Bagenal Harvey's Farewell”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1998 ("The Croppy's Complaint," Craft Recordings CRCD03 (1998); Terry Moylan notes)
Keywords: rebellion Ireland execution patriotic nonballad recitation
Found in: Ireland


Harvey bids farewell to his father's estate, his tenants, and "my true United Men who bravely with me fought." If he is executed at Wexford he asks to be buried at his father's tomb. The estate will be returned when Ireland is free.


Moylan: "the song is modelled on the Jacobite song 'Derwentwater's Farewell'" and was sung to that tune. The last verse of "Bagenal Harvey's Farewell" begins "So farewell to Bargy's lofty towers since from you I must part, A stranger now may call you his ..."; the following lines are from "Derwentwater's Farewell": "Farewell to pleasant Dilston Hall, my father's ancient seat, A stranger now must call thee his ..."

The ballad is recorded on two of the CD's issued around the time of the bicentenial of the 1798 Irish Rebellion. See:

Sean Garvey, "Bagenal Harvey's Farewell" (on "The Croppy's Complaint," Craft Recordings CRCD03 (1998); Terry Moylan notes)

Franke Harte and Donal Lunny, "Bagnal Harvey's Farewell" (on Franke Harte and Donal Lunny, "1798 the First Year of Liberty," Hummingbird Records HBCD0014 (1998))

Harte: Harvey "was a Protestant, a popular landlord and ... a senior member of the United Irishmen in Wexford." When the rebellion collapsed Harvey tried to escape but was betrayed, taken, court-martialled, hanged and his head placed on a spike over the Wexford courthouse. "The song was written shortly after 1798 but was only heard as a recitation until an air was put to it by Tommy Mallon. Since then it has been widely sung." - BS

Bagenal Harvey was by no means the best choice to command the Wexford rebels. Although in genuine sympathy with the United Irishmen (the British had put him in prison for this; see Thomas Pakenham, _The Year of Liberty_, p. 188), he was a Protestant, and a landlord -- and, seemingly, a militarily inept coward. His incompetence was largely responsible for the defeat at New Ross (see the notes to "Kelly, the Boy from Killane"), which led to the gradual but inevitable decline of the Wexford rebellion. Having lost at New Ross, he fled, was captured, an eventually hanged (see the notes to "Croppies Lie Down (II)" and "The Wexford Schooner"). - RBW

Historical references

Cross references


  1. Moylan 90, "Bagenal Harvey's Farewell" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Moyl090