One and all on you I call, your attention now I’ll crave,
I’ll sing for you a verse or two, a sad and mournful tale.
Doubtlessly you must have heard of that life I took away
At Cappabwee near Céim an Fhia on that September day.
The details of this mournful crime to you I will unfold,
How often times by your fireside, the story has been told.
While here in irons cold I lie, and now it grieves me sore
To be thinking on that awful hour when I shall be no more.
Before my name I’ll mention, I have one word to say,
It was my inclination to take his life away.
And then to plead my innocence as any man would do;
But the might of powerful will has brought this story true.
My name it is John Sullivan in shame I tell to ye
I spent my youth and happy days in mirth and charity.
For the willful murder of William Ring I am in captivity,
Far from the land where I was born and reared from infancy.
Returning from a funeral before the break of day,
And knowing that he would pass the way, whilst I in ambush lay,
Instantly he passed the road a knife with force I drew
And I dragged him to a stable floor to hide him there from view.
There he lay from early morning until the dark of night,
Without a consoling friend to quench his thirst or to offer him a bite;
I own to God, I do not know, how he managed to get home,
Along that rough and rugged path and the river stepping stones.
Next day I was arrested and placed in custody,
And taken to his dying bedside that he might swear on me;
Positively and so he did, identify me plain,
And told the story as it was both to my grief and shame.
So now my song is ended and my trial is coming on,
By the forces of the crown and with an iron bond;
By jurymen, my countrymen there is no chance for me,
But transportation all my life or step the gallows tree.