A Song A Day – Day 9

Well, the rollocking Red Mary finally found her way through. I think the spirit of the pirate Barbarossa remained after sitting in the grounds of that fortress. Here’s a song about a cavalier woman with grit and wit and blood curdling gumption, from the days of the Cromwell Curse in Ireland.


Well, here I am Red Mary, at the castle walls Red Mary,
will you share your story one more time
In a flaming blaze of beauty, as your cavalier duty,

you took it right up to the enemy line

Conor was my true love, then they cut him down to size
The Cromwell Curse was raging, I’ll spill blood as his reprisal
I beat my head against the stone, my loved one dead and me alone
I must take another husband, or lose my only home

He died on me. He died on me. What good’s a husband dead to me

I roamed the grounds day and night, wretched, haggard, grieving anguish
A blade to hack my bright red locks, then I saw a way to vanquish
Saddle up my stallion, I’m riding out tonight
Ruby hair still blazing, emerald cloak flying behind

Right up to the enemy, where I feigned a pallid smile
I’m a widow, quietly grieving, could I stop and rest awhile
I need someone’s protection, there’s my castle on the rise
You’d have a willing soldier here to take me as his bride

I ran my fingers through my hair, pinched my cheeks and bit my lips
I folded back the velvet cloak, they could catch a moonlit glimpse

I’ll take her said a young man, I’ll protect her fine estate
I took in his wide-eyed stare, he took a step towards his fate
Misfortune seemed to follow at the castle on the rise
One by one they each deserted me, one year, one day and then they died

They died on me. They died on me. What good’s a husband dead to me

So I kept the castle as my own, a home for all my sons
A score of husbands met their end despite all the wagging tongues

Did he fall from the window?  Did he break his neck when riding?
Did he drown in the river? Did he stumble off the tower?
He was hanging from the timbrel! He ate a poison snail!
He died when he was sleeping! They found him down the well!

They died on me. They died on me. What good’s a husband dead to me

One day they came and got me, dragged me to the witches’ tree
Left me bleeding in the hollow, that’s where I’ll always be
You can hear my brazen keening when you pass that hollow tree
You want my castle little soldier, then you’ll have to follow me

Die on me, die on me. No use to have a husband when he’s dead
Die on me, die on me. A Cromwell soldier’s only good when he is dead