The Wheels of Fortune

Written in the mid nineteenth century and using the slip jig tune ‘Moll Roe’, this is an excellent commentary on events of the period including the suicide of Lord Castlereagh on the 12th August 1822. He was despised in liberal circles

Sung by Jerry O’Reilly

image of Jerry O’Reilly

sung by
Jerry O’Reilly
(Cullerlie 2007)

image of CD cover of Jerry O’Reilly

CDs available

Come all your true sons of Erin
attend to these few simple rhymes.
I’ll sing you a song about spinning
it was a good trade in its time.
Some, they spun worsted and yarn and others,
they spun flax and tow,
By experience, my boys, you will learn
how the wheels of the world, they do go.
William Pitt, he was a great spinner
and so was Lord Castlereagh.
They spun up the Union for Ireland
and to England they shipped it away.
Poor Pitt, he spun out his existence
by taking a trip on a boat.
Lord Castlereagh saved the distance
by cutting the rim of his throat.
Napoleon, he was a great spinner
and freedom did always advance.
Over deserts and high lofty mountains
he marched the brave sons of France.
But Wellington, he did go spinning his wheels,
they were at Waterloo,
And if Grouchy had not been bribed the French
would have split him in two.
John Mitchell, that true son of Erin
declared that a spinner he’d be.
He set the wheels in motion
his dear native land to set free.
But John Bull, that crafty old tyrant
at spinning he was fully bent,
And to Van Dieman’s Land
the sons of old Ireland were sent.
The factory owners are spinners
their wheels, they are turning away.
Now they are wanting their hands
to work thirteen hours a day.
They care not a fig for the poor
they heed not their sighs or their moans.
They don’t care a pin if you work
till you spin all the flesh off your bones.
The rich, they are all famous spinners
of that, we are all very sure.
They’re always contriving and scheming
to put down the rights of the poor.
So if you’re resolved to go spinning
make sure that your spindles are steel.
Let Liberty then be your motto
and glory will drive your big wheel.

Posterity will ne’er survey
A nobler grave than this
Here lie the bones of Castlereagh
Stop, traveller and ****

Lord Byron

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Folk Leads Publications 2008