Verse 1: 'THERE came to the beach a poor exile of Erin, / The dew on his thin robe was heavy and chill; / For his country he sighed, when at twilight repairing, / To wander alone by the winds beaten hill. / But the day-star attracted his eyes sad devotion, / For it rose o'er his own native isle of the ocean, / When once in the fire of his youthful emotion, / He sang the loud anthem of Erin-go-Bragh.' 'Erin Go Bragh' is Irish for 'Ireland Forever'.
There appears to be some doubt over the authorship of 'The Exile of Erin'. Many believe it to be the work of the Scottish-born poet, Thomas Campbell (1777-1844), who is said to have been inspired by an encounter with an Irish exile named McCann. It has also been suggested, however, that it was the work of the Irish ballad writer George Nugent Reynolds (1770-1802).
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Probable period of publication:
View larger image