The Man Coming Home from Pretoria

George Curtin

Básadh aintín ag George Curtin i gCardiff na Breataine Bige agus d’fhág sí roinnt airgid aige. Bhí sé timpeall ar an mbliain 1900 le linn do Chogadh na mBórach. D’imigh George go Cardiff áit a d’ól sé an oidhreacht agus bhain sé ard-thaitneamh as. D’oibrigh sé  a phasáiste thar n-ais ar bád go Dún Dealgan. Dhein sé a bhóthar abhaile ar bád agus trí Baile Átha Cliath agus Cill Mhantáin ag obair d’fheirmeoirí anois ‘s arís comh maith le hamhránaíocht ag féiltíagus margaí. Ba mhór an díol suime Cogadh na mBórach do George an uair úd agus ina dhiaidh dó dhá bhliain a chaitheamh thar sáile, chúm sé an t-amhrán seo chun a scéal a mhíniú.

Foinse: The Maid of Ballingarry (John O’Connell)

Although I have travelled far over the seas
My rags they are raddled, they’re flowing with the breeze,
They got me entangled in brambles and trees
On my way coming home from Pretoria,
I thought in my heart when I was going away
That I’d strike some fine job and get wonderful pay,
But alas it is harder to act than to say
Said the man coming home from Pretoria.

Ah me, but De Wett gave us something to do,
I remember him well and I think so should you,
At the sight of him Kitchener turned quite blue
Said the man who came home from Pretoria.
The long hours in ambush whilst dodging the Boers,
In anguish we languished while patching our sores,
Sure three of those men were a match for three score
Of the English force in Pretoria,

I worked like a bugger to come back again
On board an oul lugger midst tots of rain,
And the roar of the surges near drove me insane
Said the man coming home from Pretoria.
After forty days sailing we came to Dundalk
My limbs they were aching I scarcely could walk,
And the peelers they gazed with the eye of a hawk
On the man coming home from Pretoria,

There was one with a squint, he insisted to know
My name and my way of existing also,
And he said you’ve the gimp and identical go
Of a man coming home from Pretoria.
Besides, you’ve no visible means of support,
Your movements are strange since you came into port
I will have you detained to explain it in court,
Why you’re tramping it back from Pretoria

I haven’t a rap in the sack I allow,
I broke into no shop and I started no row,
I stole no gold watch, no clock, or a cow,
While tramping it home from Pretoria.
I prayed and protested with tears in my eyes,
For the sake of his dead that had fled to the skies,
Not to arrest me but let me pass by,
On my way coming home from Pretoria,

I was then marched away like a horse going to pound,
With two other stragglers strapped and well bound,
Sure, I’d rather be swallowed red hot through the ground,
Or shot by the Boers in Pretoria.
I’ll tell you where was it they locked me that night,
‘Twas a dreary stone closet set out from the light,
Where the bugs in battalions were having a fight,
For the man coming home from Pretoria.

It was early next morning a raw boned J.P.,
Suggested the law for to stop hounding me,
And he said there’s no harm at all that I see,
In this man coming home from Pretoria,
Now I’m back in Stuicín with my friends in the fall,
‘Tis the neatest of places that ever you saw,
And the sportiest spot from auld Coome to Gougane,
There I’ll sleep till my whiskers are hoary.



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