Brennan on the Moor
Version 2
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

Information
Lyrics
According to Burl Ives this tune was popular in Ireland, Scotland and America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The first printed appearance of the tune was on broadsides around 1850.

William Brennan was a highwayman in the 18th century. He operated around the Kilworth mountains in County Cork. Brennan was hanged at Cork in 1804. Given these facts Ives has estimated the date of the tune too early.

There is another version at Brennan on the Moor (1). In this version he is betrayed by a woman and in other versions Brennan was betrayed by one of his comrades.

It's about a fierce highway man
My story I will tell.
His name was Willy Brennan,
And in Ireland he did dwell.
'Twas upon the king's mountain
He began his wild career,
And many a rich gentleman
Before him shook with fear.

Chorus
Oh it's Brennan on the moor,
Brennan on the moor,
Bold, gay, and undaunted
Stood young Brennan on the Moor.

It was upon the King's highway,
Old Brennan he sat down.
He met the mayor of Moorland
Five miles outside of town.
Now the Mayor, he knew mountain,
And "I think," says he,
"Your name is Willy Brennan,
You must come along with me."

Chorus
Oh it's Brennan on the moor,
Brennan on the moor,
Bold, gay, and undaunted
Stood young Brennan on the Moor.

Now Brennan's wife was agoing down town
Some provisions for to buy.
When she saw her Willy taken
She began to weep and cry.
Says he, "Hand me that ten penny,"
And as soon as Willy spoke
She handed him a blunderbuss
From underneath her cloak.

Chorus
Oh it's Brennan on the moor,
Brennan on the moor,
Bold, gay, and undaunted
Stood young Brennan on the Moor.

Now Brennan got his blunderbuss,
My story I'll unfold.
He caused the mayor to tremble
And deliver up his gold.
Five thousand pounds were offered
For his apprehension there,
But Brennan and the pedlar
To the mountain did repair.

Chorus
Oh it's Brennan on the moor,
Brennan on the moor,
Bold, gay, and undaunted
Stood young Brennan on the Moor.

Now Brennan is an outlaw
All on some mountain hight.
With infantry and cavalry
To take him they did try,
But he laughed at them and he scorned at them
Until it was said
By a false-hearted woman
He was cruelly betrayed.

Chorus
Oh it's Brennan on the moor,
Brennan on the moor,
Bold, gay, and undaunted
Stood young Brennan on the Moor.

They hung Brennan at the crossroads;
In chains he swung and dried.
But still they say that in the night
Some do see him ride.
They see him with his blunderbuss
In the midnight chill;
Along, along the King's highway
Rides Willy Brennan still.

Chorus
Oh it's Brennan on the moor,
Brennan on the moor,
Bold, gay, and undaunted
Stood young Brennan on the Moor.

Related Links
From The Burl Ives Song Book
See Bibliography for full information.