Skip to main content

Crime & punishment

Brennan on the moor


Its of a fearless highwayman a story I will tell,
His same was Willy Brenan in Ireland he did dwell,
And on the Lilvat mountains he commenced his wild career
And many a wealthy gentleman before him shook with fear
Bold and undaunted stood bold Brenan on the moor.

A brace of loaded pistols, he carried night and day,
He never robbed a poor man upon the King's highway ;
But what he'd taken from the rich, like Turpin & black bess
He always did divide it with the widow in distress.

One night he robbed a packman his name was Hedlar Bawn
They travelled on together, till day began to dawn,
The pedlar seeing his money gone, also his watch & chain,
He at once encountered Brenan and robbed him back again

when Brenan seeing the pedlar, was as good a man as he,
He took him on the highway, his companion for to be,
The pedlar threw away his pack, without any more delay,
And proved a faithful comrade until his dying day.

One day upon the highway, as Willie he sat down,
He met the mayor of Cashel, a mile outside of town,
The Mayor he knew his features, I think young man said he
Your name is Willie Brenan you must come along with me.

As Brenan's wife had gone to town provisions for to buy,
When she saw her Willie she began to weep and cry.
He says, ' give me that tenpence' as soon as Willie spoke,
She handed him the blunderbuss from underneath her cloak

Then with his loaded blunderbuss, the truth I will unfold,
He made the Mayor to tremble and robbed him of his gold
One hundred pounds was offered for his apprehension,
And with his horse and saddle to the mountains did repair.

Then Brenan being an outlaw upon the mountains high
Where calvary and Infantry to take him they did try,
He laughed at them with scorn until at length 'tis said,
By a false hearted young man he was basely betrayed.

In the county of Tipperary in a place they call Clonmore,
Willie Brenan and his comrade that day did suffer sore,
Be lay among the fern which was thick upon the field,
And nine wounds he had received before that he did yield

So they were taken prisoners, in irons they were bound.
And conveyed to Clonmel jail, strong walls did them
They were tried, and found guilty, the judge made this
reply,                                                     [to die.
For robbing on the King's highway you are both condemned

Farewell ! unto my wife, and to my children three,
Likewise my aged father, he may shed tears for me,
And to my loving mother, who tore her grey locks and cried
Saving, " I wish Willie Brenan, in your cradle you had

             YOU NEVER MISS THE

               Water till the
               Well runs dry.

When a child I lived at Lincoln, with my parents at
the farm,
The lessons that my mother taught to me were quite
a charm,
She would often take me on her knee when tired of
childish play,
And as she press'd me to her breast I've heard my
mother say

Waste not, want not, is a maxim 1 would teach,
Let your watchword be " dispatch," and practice
what you preach ;
Do not let your chance, like sunbeams, pass you by,
For you never miss the water till the well runs dry.

As years roll'd on I grew to be a mischief-making boy,
Destruction seem'd my only sport, it was my only joy,
And well do I remember, when oft-times well chas
When father at beside me, and then and thus has me
advised—                                Waste not, &c.

When I arriv'd at manhood I embarked in public life,
And found it was a rugged road, bestrewn with care
and strife,
I speculated foolishly, my losses were severe,
But still a tiny little voice kept whispering in min
ear—                                       Waste not, &c

Then I studied strict economy, and found to my sur-
My funds, instead of sinking, very quickly then did
rise ;
I grasped each chance, and always struck the iron
while 'twas hot,
I seiz'd my opportunities, and never once forgot—
                                                       Waste not, &c.

I'm married now and happy, I've a careful little
We live in peace and harmony, devoid of care and
Fortune smiles upon us, we have little children three.
The lesson that I teach them as they prattle round
my Knee—                              Waste not, &c.

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence