Mudcat Café message #1121523 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #66885   Message #1121523
Posted By: Bob Bolton
22-Feb-04 - 11:26 PM
Thread Name: DTStudy: Bold Jack Donohue
Subject: Lyr Add: BOLD JACK DONAHOE / BOLD JACK DONOHUE
G'day again,

This time I will post the set of song texts that are usually known by the name Bold Jack Donahoe. These also come from John Meredith's book The Donahoe Ballads:

One of the "Bold Jack Donahoe" ballads has the first two verses and the chorus sung in the first person, and the remainder in the third person. The version following was sung to me by Mrs Gladys Scrivener, of Erskineville, N.S.W. Mrs Scrivener learned the ballad along with many other folk songs from her father, Mr J. M. Power, of West Maitland, who learned them whilst working in the bush in Northern New South Wales.

BOLD JACK DONAHOE
No.3 A Gladys Scrivener version
In Dublin Town I was brought up, in that city of great fame,
My decent friends and parents they will tell to you the same;
It was all for five hundred pounds I was sent across the main,
For seven long years in New South Wales to wear a convict's chain.

Chorus:
Now come along my hearties, we'll roam the mountainside,
Together we will plunder and together we will die,
We'll wander o'er the valleys and we'll gallop o'er the plains,
For we scorn to live in slavery, bound down in iron chains.


I'd scarce been there twelve months or more upon the Australian shore,
When I took to the highway as I'd oft-times done before,
There was me and Jacky Underwood, and Webber and Walmsley too,
These were the true associates of bold Jack Donahoe.

Now Donahoe was taken all for a notorious crime,
And sentenced to be hung upon the gallows tree so high,
But when they came to Sydney gaol he left them in a stew
And when they came to call the roll they missed Jack Donahoe.

Now Donahoe made his escape, to the bush he went straightway,
The people they were all afraid to travel night or day,
For every day the newspapers had something published new,
Concerning this dauntless hero the bold Jack Donahoe.

As Donahoe was cruising one summer's afternoon,
Listening to the mocking birds, their pretty laughing tune,
When the sergeant of the horse police discharged his carabine,
And called aloud on Donahoe to fight or to resign.

"Resign to you, you cowardly dogs, a thing I ne'er will do,
For I'll fight this night with all my might", cried bold Jack Donahoe,
"I'd rather roam these hills and dales like a wolf or kangaroo,
Than work one hour for government", cried bold Jack Donahoe.

He fought six rounds with the horse police until the fatal ball,
Which pierced his heart and made him start, caused Donahoe to fall,
And as he closed his mournful eyes, he bade this world adieu,
Saying, "Convicts all, both large and small, say prayers for Donahoe".

Like several other singers, Gladys Scrivener said that she had heard "The Wild Colonial Boy" sung to the same tune as "Bold Jack Donahoe".

A variant of this same ballad was collected by Alan Scott from the singing of Mr H. Beatty, of Hawthorne, a suburb of Brisbane, to a tune which differs greatly from that used by Gladys Scrivener:

BOLD JACK DONAHOE
No3B Beatty/Scott version

In Dublin Town I was brought up, that city of great fame,
My parents reared me tenderly, there was many that used the same;
Being a wild colonial boy, I was forced to cross the main,
And for seven long years to New South Wales to wear a convict chain.

Oh, I'd been no longer than six months upon the Australian shores,
When I turned out as a Tory boy, as I'd often done before.
There was Macnamara from yonder woods, and Captain Mackie too,
They were the chief associates of bold Jack Donahoe.

As O'Donahoe was taken for a notorious crime,
And sentenced to be hanged all on the gallows high;
But when they came to Sydney gaol, he left them in a stew,
For when they went to call the roll, they missed Jack Donahoe.

As O'Donahoe made his escape, to the woods he did repair,
Where the tyrants dared not show their face by night or by day;
And every week in the newspapers, there was published something new, Concerning that bold hero boy, called brave Jack Donahoe.

As O'Donahoe was walking one summer's afternoon,
Little was his notion that his death should be so soon,
When a sergeant of the horse police discharged his carabine, And loudly called to O'Donahoe to fight or else resign.

"Resign to you, you cowardly dog, it's a thing I ne'er will do,
For I'll range these woods and valleys like a wolf or a kangaroo;
I'll range these woods and valleys like a wolf or kangaroo
Before I'll work for Government -" said bold Jack Donahoe.

Nine rounds the horse policeman fired till at length the fatal ball,
He lodged it in O'Donahoe's breast and it caused him for to fall.
As he closed his mournful eyes, to this world he bade adieu;
"Good people all, both great and small, pray for Jack Donahoe."

The line "When I turned out as a Tory boy . . ." does not imply that Donahoe was a Conservative. In 17th century Ireland a "tory" was an outlaw, and the word was used more in a political than a criminal sense.

In the Hawkesbury Herald of 17 June, 1904, in one of a series of articles entitled "Reminiscences of Richmond" there is included a fragment of yet another Donahoe ballad, with an introductory note:

BOLD JACK DONOHUE

One old ditty that I have often heard sung when I was a boy. It related to the death of Donohue. The vocalist was one old blind "Tommy the Fiddler", and his platform was, generally, an empty rum-cask in a taproom, where he generally had an appreciative audience. I will repeat the song, not because it is anything intellectual, but it will give some idea of the sentiment of the times. It is thus:

No . 4A 1904 Printed version

Come all you lads of loyalty, a story I will tell,
It's of a gallant hero, who in action lately fell;
His name it was Jack Donohue, of courage and renown,
Who scorned to live in slavery or humble to the crown;
"I'd sooner range the forest like some wilful kangaroo,
Than work one hour for government," says bold Jack Donohue.

As Donohue and his two' companions were cruising the highway,
They were hailed by the horse police who boldly bade them stay;
"Come on, my lads of loyalty, we'll fight them man for man,
There are only three of them, you see, our number is just the same".
"Oh no," says cowardly Walmsley, "your wish we'll not fulfil;
Don't you see nine or ten of them advancing over the hill!

If it comes to a close engagement, we'll see it when too late;
So come along with me, my boys, we'll beat a quick retreat."
"Begone, you cowardly rascals, begone from me, I pray;
I'll fight them all myself, and that you plain will see."
The police commenced firing, poor Donohue did say,

"Oh, curse you, cowardly rascals, that from me have run away."
While one got out in front of him, another on each side,
At last the gallant hero received a ball and died;
Our holy angels guard him, before our heavenly King,
Our Saviour dear, who died for us, redeem his soul from sin.

" I have missed a couple of lines, but etc. "

In 1954 I made a tape-recording of a variant sung by an old man named Edwin Goodwin, aged, at the time, 75 years, who had learned a more complete version than that just quoted, when working as a timbercutter in the Nambucca River district on the North Coast of New South Wales:


BOLD JACK DONAHOE
No.4B Goodwin version
If you'll but listen, a sorrowful tale I'll tell,
Concerning a young hero, in action lately fell,
His name it was Jack Donahoe, of courage and renown,
He'd scorn to live in slavery or be humbled to the crown.

On the twenty-fourth of August, it be his fatal day,
As he and his companions were cruising the highway,
He was hailed by the horse-police, he stood with heart and hand,
"Come on, my lads," cried Donahoe, "We'll fight them man for mans'

Says he to his companions, "Now if you're game -
You'll see there's only three of them, our number's just the same,
        (line omitted by the singer)
For today it's life or liberty, or fall upon the plain."

"Oh no," says        cowardly Walmsley, "Your laws well] not fulfil,
You'll see there's eight or ten of them advancing on yon hill.
If it comes to an engagement, you'll rue it when too late,
So turn about and come with us - we'll form a quick retrate," [sic]

"Begone you cowardly scoundrels, begone, I pray from me,
For if we were united, weld gain this victory.
Today I'll fight with courage bold that all the world may see,
For I'd rather die in battle than be hung on a !gallows tree."

Soon they commenced their firing; poor Donahoe did say,
"My curse lay on you, Walmsley, for from me you've run away!"
The one played off in front of him, the other at each side,
At length he received a mortal wound and in his glory died.

The equals of Jack Donahoe this country has never seen,
He did maintain his rights, my boys, and that right manfully;
He was chased about by hundreds, for three long years or more,
Until, at length the heavens decreed that he should roam no more.

The awful end of Donahoe, the truth to you I've told,
And hope that all good Christians will pray for his soul,
May the Holy Angels guard him, likewise our Heavenly King,
And our Saviour dear who died for us, redeem his soul from sin.

The fifth Donahoe ballad contains, here and there, lines from No.4 group, is sufficiently different, and has developed sufficient variants of its own to be placed in a separate group. Variants of this ballad have been collected By John Manifold, in Queensland, and by A. L. Lloyd, in the Lachlan district Of New South Wales, but their published versions bear evidence of editorial "polishing up", so I have used the version published by A. B. Paterson in his folk song anthology, Old Bush Songs:

BOLD JACK DONAHOE
No 5 Paterson version

'Twas of a valiant highwayman and outlaw of disdain,
Who'd scorn to live in slavery or wear a convict's chain;
His name it was Jack Donahoe of courage and renown -
He'd scorn to live in slavery or humble to the Crown.

This bold undaunted highwayman, as you may understand,
Was banished for his natural life from Erin's happy land.
In Dublin City of renown, where his first breath he drew,
It's there they titled him the brave and bold Jack Donahoe.

He scarce had been a twelve-month on the Australian shore,
When he took to the highway, as oft he had before.
Brave Macnamara, Underwood, Webber and Walmsley too,
These were the four associates of bold Jack Donahoe.

As Jack and his companions roved out one afternoon,
Not thinking that the pains of death would overcome so soon,
To their surprise five horse police appeared all in their view,
And in quick time they did advance to take Jack Donahoe.

Come, come, you cowardly rascals, oh do not run away!
We'll fight them man to man, my boys, their number's only three;
For I'd rather range the bush around, like dingo or kangaroo,
Than work one hour for Government," said bold Jack Donahoe.

"Oh no," said cowardly Walmsley, "to that I won't agree;
I see they're still advancing us ~ their number's more than three.
And if we wait we'll be too late, the battle we will rue."
"Then begone from me, you cowardly dog," replied Jack Donahoe.

The Sergeant of the horse police discharged his carabine,
And called aloud to Donahoe "Will you fight or resign,"
"Resign, no, no! I never will, unto your cowardly crew,
For today I'll fight with all my might," cried bold Jack Donahoe.

The Sergeant then, in a hurry his party to divide,
Placed one to fire in front of him, and another on each side;
The Sergeant and the Corporal, they both fired too,
Till the fatal ball had pierced the heart of bold Jack Donahoe.

Six rounds he fought those horse police before the fatal ball,
Which pierced his heart with cruel smart, caused Donahoe to fall;
And as he closed his mournful eyes he bade this world adieu,
Saying, "Good people all, pray for the soul of poor Jack Donahoe".

There were Freincy, Grant, bold Robin Hood, Brennan and O'Hare;
With Donahoe this highwayman none of them could compare.
But now he's gone to Heaven, I hope, with saints and angels too
May the Lord have mercy on the soul of brave Jack Donahoe.

The book also has texts of an earlier song - said to have been written by John Donahoe himself: I'm Donahoe and two later songs.

One, The Drifting Smoke of the Mountains is said to have been "collected by" (although, more likely "written by") author, playwright, Kenneth Cook. The other, The Road to Vanderville is a modern song by Mrs Doris Woods, of "The Oaks".

I may have already posted the early song in another thread, but there seems little point in posting the modern ones.

Regards,

Bob Bolton