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Thom Moore: Music

Batallon San Patricio

(Thom Moore)
Thom Moore (1995)
"You'll soon be dead," the general said,
righteous eyes ablaze;
"Chapultepec, there: when it falls
these city walls will flaunt your weight."
Fate's last beck:
fifty Irishmen hanged by the neck,
traitors to the States, you know:
Batalion San Patricio.

Eviction wracks, famine rends: when
oppressed without an end,
blight and bile turn rank and file;
bugles call, and the mind's beguiled
by revenge so pure:
stars and stripes -- a mighty lure
for heroes bold to fight the foe,
future San Patricios.

But curse and lash was all they found,
Know-Nothings all around;
no priest to shrive the Catholic crowd,
no sacraments to be allowed.
"Form your lines!"
Shot and shell and bullet whine;
what you bear in Mexico is
Vera Cruz, Patricio!

Amid the smoke of battle seen
hazily as a dream,
blessing best, blessing least:
a tonsured Mexicano priest --
Dia 's Muire dhuit! --
shot by Yankees, thrown in a ditch:
the Captain with that curse and blow
making San Patricios.

The number run was never told:
but near two hundred souls
bolted free and hotly chose
to die as San Patricios,
all foresworn:
treason is death, as sure as you're born.
Never with a chance did they go:
they were born for San Patricio!


A hundred died; the rest survived
to hang on Mexico's wall:
the fortress fell, the rest, indeed,
manifested destiny.
Fate's last beck:
fifty Irishmen hanged by the neck,
traitors to the States, you know:
the last of the San Patricios.
Batalion San Patricio!