Forgotten Hero (Andy Irvine) The Landlord's agents standing with their crowbars in their hands, Four little children watch the fire and do not understand Just another family evicted from their home And the memory never faded for one brave man from Mayo. He grew up in an English town and ideas filled his head He read about John Mitchell and what Fintan Lalor said How the landed gentry with their property unearned Took the food from millions gave them famine in return Michael Davidd was nineteen when he joined the IRB But the police they arrested him in 1870 And the lies of the informer sent Michael Davitt down For fifteen years in Dartmoor as a traitor to the crown The Landlord and his agent wrote Davitt from his cell For selfishness and cruelty have no parallel And the one thing they're entitled to these idle thoroughbreds Is a one way ticket out of here third class to Holyhead After seven years and seven months this convict was released His spirit was unbroken his commitment but increased And with one clear call he then unveiled his plan We'll form a mighty Land League and we'll nationalise the land O Forgotten hero in poverty you came But you never looked for riches and you never looked for fame The interests of the common man it was your life's aim Forgotten Hero never vanquishes in the struggle The rain lashed down all summer and filled the people's heart with fear And the harvest was the worst since the dreadful Famine years But the Land League's Monster Meeting showed the farmers they were strong And if we all stick together, boys, it won't take very long Out the ruins of the cottage where he first he drew his breath Davitt said I hope that I may have pleasure yet Of trampling on the ruins of this greedy useless band And driving landlordism from the shores of Ireland With Parnell as its leader the land war held his course Hold the rent and hold the harvest they can't evict us all And Davitt crossed the ocean saying give what you can spare And the Irish in Amerikay they paid up their full share But not for the first time and neither for the last The Dublin Castle Bishops nailed their colours to the mast And the Altars rang with warnings, respect the law we say For these Fenians and these Socialists are leading you astray With the laws of Private Property and the army at his back Buckshot Forster then arrested all the leaders of the pack In the Hallowed House of Commons the Gents did cheer and howl When they heard that Michael Davitt was safely back in jail And the treaty of Kilmainham Parnell threw it all away It was the turning point in his career and he turned the wrong way And the revolution missed its chance with victory in its sight And fell down like a house of cards collapsing overnight Davitt saw the Land war as the first step down the track And he hoped to see the end of the Queen and the end of Union Jack And I hope some tremor reached him where he lies in bleak Mayo When they raised the Harp without the Crown above the GPO O Forgotten Hero in peace may you rest Your heart was always with the poor and the oppressed A prison cell could never quell the courage you possessed Forgotten Hero never vanquishes in the struggle Sung by Patrick Street on "Irish Times" Background: Michael Davitt was born in Straide Co. Mayo in 1846. His family was evicted in his earliest years and he went to work in a Lancashire cotton mill at the age of nine, losing his right arm in a Doffing engine accident when he was just eleven years old. Imprisoned in brutal circumstances in 1870, his health was permanently impaired. He founded the Land League in 1879 and in the land war which followed, h defy their landlords for the first time. Through his life, Davitt was driven by a sense of justice for the common man and though dogged by poverty and misfortune, he never waiwered from his principles or gave way to bitterness. In his last will he wrote: To all my friends I leave kind thoughts, to my enemies the fullest possible forgiveness and to Ireland an undying prayer for the absolute freedom and indipendence which it was my life's ambition to try and obtain for her. ML oct97
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