“Orange and Green”

Author: Gerald Griffin (1803-1840)
Earliest date: 1850 (David Charles Bell, _The Modern Reader and Speaker_)
Keywords: Ireland political homicide promise reprieve reunion
Found in: US(MW)

Description

"The night was falling dreary in merry Bandon town...." To an Orangeman's door comes a Green, pursued by an angry crowd. The Orangeman shelters him -- then learns he has killed his son. He still does not retaliate Years later, they meet in peace

Notes

Given that Dean's seems to be the only traditional text of this, and that I have found no sign of sheet music, I suspect this is actually a recitation rather than a song. I also suspect Dean took it from a literary source. Finally, I have to suspect its inclusion was inspired by the horrid Irish troubles that were taking place at the time Dean was assembling his book: The conflict of Orange and Green was at its worst, because by this time England would probably have walked away from Ireland -- except that the Orangement of Ulster wanted no part of an independent Ireland.

Gerald Griffin had an interesting career: Born in Ireland, the ninth son of a brewer, his family moved to America to escape poverty (so it's just possible that he would have heard the story of Duncan Campbell which this so resembles). He spent time as a journalist in Lonon, and finally ended up teaching in Ireland for the Society of Christian Brothers. His posthumous collected works occupied eight volumes, though most of his works have fallen into obscurity. (Benet's _Reader's Encyclopedia_, which is as close to comprehensive as any literary reference I've seen, doesn't even mention him.) He did produce a version of "Eileen Aroon," reportedly taken from the Gaelic (see the Notes to that song); also, his novel _The Collegians_ (1829) was made into a play, _Colleen Bawn_. Patrick C. Power _A Literary History of Ireland_, Mercier, 1969, calls it "a very good novel" but says that after that he "never again wrote anything as good." - RBW

References

  1. Dean, pp. 41-43, "Orange and Green" (1 text)
  2. Roud #9556
  3. BI, Dean040