Spotlight: The Ballad of Martin Cash

The Ballad of Martin Cash

by Frank the Poet

Come all you sons of Erin’s Isle
That love to hear your tuneful notes,
Remember William Wallace and
Montrose of sweet Dundee–
The great Napoleon played his part,
But by treachery was undone
Nelson, for England’s glory bled
And nobly fought by sea–
And Wellington, old Erin’s son,
Who Waterloo so bravely won,
When leading on his veteran troops,
Bold faced his daring foes–
But Martin Cash of matchless fame,
The bravest man that owns that name,
Is a valiant son of Erin,
Where the sprig of shamrock grows.

By treachery as it was said,
This hero to a gaol was led,
‘Twas Bedford who, in Campbell Town,
Had got him seven years.
Which sent him to the settlement
In misery and discontent,
But soon he made his foes repent,
As you shall quickly hear,
He left Port Arthur’s cursed soil,
Saying “No longer will I toil”,
And soon he reached the Derwent’s side
In spite of all his foes.
He made the settlers crouch in dread
Where’er that he showed his head;
This valiant son of Erin,
Where the sprig of shamrock grows.

It was once when near the old Woolpack
His enemies they did attack;
The number being three to one,
They thought their prize secure.
But Martin to his piece did cling,
And three of them did quickly wing,
Saying, “Down, you cowardly dogs,
Or I nail you to the floor!”
It’s loud for mercy they did cry,
But no one came to their reply,
While Martin, with a smiling eye,
Stood gazing at his foes.
Then through the bush he took his way,
And called on settlers night and day,
Did our valiant son of Erin,
Where the sprig of shamrock grows.

It was on the Salt Pan Plain
He faced his enemies again,
There were Sydney blacks and horse police,
And well-trained soldiers too;
But at the time when they drew near,
Cash hailed them loudly with a cheer,
And let them have it left and right,
His colours were true blue.
Bravely did he stand his ground,
The bullets flying thick around,
And like a fearless general
He faced his firing foes.
“Surrender, Martin !” loud they cry,
“Never till the hour I die
Said this valiant son of Erin,
Where the sprig of shamrock grows.

Brave Cash, not caring for his life,
To Hobart came to see his wife,
The constables who lay in wait
Cried, “Martin is in view !”
Some cowards tried to block his way,
But one of them soon lifeless lay,
Their numbers were increasing,
And still did Cash pursue.
And in the street a man rushed out,
Who tried to stop him in his route,
But with a pistol in each hand
He clean shot off his nose.
“Surrender, Cash !” was still their cry,
“Never, till the hour I die
Said this gallant son of Erin,
Where the sprig of shamrock grows.

O’erpowered and wounded, bleeding, pale,
The Bobbies marched him off to gaol,
And when his trial was brought on
Some hundreds listened by.
And when the Judge, with panting breath
Had told him to prepare for death,
He calmly heard the sentence
With a proud, unflinching eye.
We all have hopes that we shall see
Bold Martin yet at liberty,
That shortly he will be as free
As the ocean wind that blows.
He’s of a good old valiant race,
There’s no one can his name disgrace,
He’s a noble son of Erin,
Where the sprig of shamrock grows.

He’s the bravest man that you could choose
From Sydney men or Cockatoos,
And a gallant son of Erin,
Where the sprig of shamrock grows.


Source: The Adventures of Martin Cash: comprising a faithful account of his exploits, while a bushranger under arms in Tasmania, in company with Kavanagh and Jones in the year 1843 by Martin Cash, edited by James Lester Burke. (page 122-123) Hobart Town: “Mercury” Steam Press Office, 1870.

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