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Title: The Poor Soldier

Date of first publication: 1815

Author: John O'Keeffe (1747-1833)

Date first posted: July 20 2013

Date last updated: July 20 2013

Faded Page eBook #20130737

This ebook was produced by: Delphine Lettau & the Online Distributed Proofreading Canada Team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net




















London, 1815




Fitzroy,Mr Bellamy.
Patrick,Mr Taylor.
Dermot,Mr Incledon.
Darby,Mr Munden.
Father Luke, Mr Waddy.
Bagatelle,Mr Finlay.
Norah,Miss Bolton.
Kathlane,Mrs Liston.






SCENE I.—The Country—Sun-rise—a large Mansion at some distance—near the front, on one side, a small House; on the other a Cottage.

Darby, without.

Nay, nay, what harm?

Dermot. [Without.] Why, I tell you there is harm.

Enter Dermot and Darby.

Dar. Why, sure, I'll only stand by.

Der. I tell you it's not proper for any one to be by when one's along with one's sweetheart.

Dar. I always like to be by when I'm along with my sweetheart—She's asleep—I'll call her up—Halloo! Kathlane!

Der. Will you be quiet, Darby? Can't you go make a noise there, under Father Luke's window?

Dar. Ecod, if I do, he'll put me in the Bishop's Court.

Der. If I wasn't so fond of Kathlane, I should think Norah, his niece there, a very handsome girl.

Dar. Why, so she is; but since her own sweetheart, Patrick, full of ale and vexation, went for a soldier, she don't care a pin for the prettiest of us; by the Lord, she even turns up her nose at me!

Der. Well, well, you'll see how it will be; somebody, I know——

Dar. Ay, you mean the foreign serving-man to the strange officer that's above at my lord's. Eh! why, faith, Dermot, it would indeed be a shame to let a black-muzzled mounseer of a Frenchman carry off a pretty girl from a parcel of tight Irish boys like us.

Der. So it would, Darby; but my sweet Kathlane is fast asleep, and never dreams that her poor Dermot is here under her window.

Dar. Ay, never dreams that poor Darby's under her window; but I'll have her up—Kathlane!—Kath——

Der. Hush!

[Pushes Darby off.



Sleep on, sleep on, my Kathlane dear,
May peace possess thy breast;
Yet dost thou dream thy true love's here,
Deprived of peace and rest.

The birds sing sweet, the morning breaks,
These joys are none to me;
Though sleep is fled, poor Dermot wakes,
To none but love and thee.


Enter Darby.

Dar. What a dull dog that is!—Ah, poor Dermot! ha, ha! why, such a song couldn't wake an owl out of his sleep, let alone a pretty girl, that's dreaming of I.—Kathlane! upon my conscience I'll—yes, I'll rouse her.



Dear Kathlane, you, no doubt,
Find sleep how very sweet 'tis,
Dogs bark, and cocks have crow'd out,
You never dream how late 'tis;
This morning gay,
I post away,
To have with you a bit of play,
On two legs rid
Along to bid
Good morrow to your night-cap.

Last night a little bowsy
With whiskey, ale, and cyder,
I ask'd young Betty Blowsy
To let me sit beside her;
Her anger rose,
And, sour as sloes,
The little gypsey cock'd her nose,
Yet here I've rid
Along to bid
Good morrow to your night-cap.

[Kathlane opens the Cottage Window.

Dar. Ay, there she is: oh, I'm the boy for it.

Kath. Is that Dermot?

Dar. [Hiding under the Penthouse.] O dear, she takes me for Dermot, he, he, he!

Kath. Who's there?

Dar. Sure it's only I.

Kath. What, Dermot?

Dar. Yes, I am—Darby. [Aside.]

Kath. I'm coming down. [Retires.]

Dar. I thought I'd bring her down; I'm a sure marksman.

Enter Kathlane from the Cottage.

Kath. Where are you, my dear Dermot?

Dar. [Comes forward.] "Good morrow to your night-cap." [Sings.]

Kath. [Starting.] Darby! Now hang you for an impudent fellow.

Dar. Then hang me about your neck, my sweet Kathlane.

Kath. It's a fine thing that people can't take their rest of a morning, but you must come roaring under their windows.

Dar. Now, what need you be so cross with a body, when you know I love you?

Kath. Well, let me alone, Darby: once for all, I will not have you.

Dar. No!

Kath. No, as I hope for a man, I won't.

Dar. Ha, ha, ha! hope for a man, and yet won't have me!

Kath. Yes, but I'll tell you what sort of a man; then look into the river, and see if you're he.

Dar. And if not—I'll pop in head foremost.

Kath. Do, Darby; and then you may whistle for me.


Since love is the plan,
I'll love if I can,
But first let me tell you what sort of a man:
In address how complete,
And in dress spruce and neat,
No matter how tall, so he's over five feet;
Nor dull nor too witty,
His eyes I'll think pretty,
If sparkling with pleasure whenever we meet.

Though gentle he be,
His man he should see,
Yet never be conquer'd by any but me;
In a song bear a bob,
In a glass a hob nob,
Yet drink of his reason his noddle ne'er rob.
This is my fancy,
If such a man can see,
I'm his, if he's mine, until then I am free.

Dar. So then you won't have me?

Kath. No, that I won't.

Dar. Why, I'm a better match for you than Dermot.

Kath. No.

Dar. No! Hav'n't I every thing comfortable about me? cows, sheep, geese, and turkies for you to look after in the week days, and a pretty pad for you to ride to chapel on a Sunday; a nice little cabin for you to live in, and a neat bit of a potatoe garden for you to walk in; and for a husband, I'm as pretty a lad as you'd meet with of a long summer's day.

Kath. Get along: don't talk to me of your geese and your turkies, man, with your conceit and your nonsense. You know, Darby, I am an heiress, and so take your answer—You're no match for me.

Dar. An heiress! Why, though your father, old Jorum, that kept the Harp and Crown, left you well enough in the world, as a body may say——

Kath. Well enough, you disparaging fellow! Didn't my father leave me a fortune of eleven pounds, a barrel of ale upon draught, the dappled mare, besides the furniture of the whole house, which 'praised to the matter of thirty-eight shillings? Well enough, indeed!

Dar. [Soothingly.] Nay, but Kathlane——

Kath. Well enough! and didn't he leave me the bald filly, you puppy?

Dar. Oh! now she's got upon the bald filly, the devil wouldn't take her down.


Kath.Out of my sight, or I'll box your ears.
Dar.I'll fit you soon for your gibes and jeers.
Kath.I'll set my cap at a smart young man.
Dar.Another I'll wed this day if I can.
Kath.In courtship funny.
Dar.Once sweet as honey.
Kath.You drone.
Dar.No, Kate, I'm your humble bee.
Kath. Go dance your dogs with your fiddle de dee,
 For a sprightly lad is the man for me.
Kath.  Like sweet milk turn'd now to me seems love.
Dar.The fragrant rose does a nettle prove.
Kath.Sour curds I taste, though sweet cream I chose.
Dar.And with a flower I sting my nose.
Kath.In courtship funny, &c.

[Exeunt severally.

Enter Fitzroy.

Fitz. Ay, here's Father Luke's house: I doubt if his charming niece is up yet. [Looks at his Watch.] I shall be back before the family are stirring; the beauty and freshness of the morning exhilarates and delights.

AIR.—Seldom sung.

The twins of Latona, so kind to my boon,
Arise to partake of the chace,
And Sol lends a ray to chaste Dian's fair moon,
And a smile to the smiles of her face.
For the sport I delight in, the bright queen of love
With myrtles my brow shall adorn,
While Pan breaks his chaunter, and skulks in the grove,
Excell'd by the sound of the horn.
The dogs are uncoupled, and sweet is their cry;
Yet sweeter the notes of sweet echo's reply:
Hark forward, my honies! the game is in view,
But love is the game that I wish to pursue.
The stag from his chamber of woodbine peeps out,
His sentence he hears in the gale;
Yet flies, till entangled in fear and in doubt,
His courage and constancy fail.
Surrounded by foes, he prepares for the 'fray,
Despair taking place of his fear,
With antlers erected, awhile stands at bay,
Then surrenders his life with a tear.
The dogs, &c.

'Tis she; I fear to speak to her, lest I should be observed by some of the villagers. [Retires.]

Enter Norah from the House.


The meadows look cheerful, the birds sweetly sing,
So gaily they carol the praises of spring;
Though nature rejoices, poor Norah shall mourn,
Until her dear Patrick again shall return.
Ye lasses of Dublin, ah, hide your gay charms!
Nor lure her dear Patrick from Norah's fond arms;
Though sattins and ribbons and laces are fine,
They hide not a heart with such feelings as mine.

If the grass is not too wet, perhaps Kathlane will take a walk with me.—Ah! she's gone to walk with her sweetheart Dermot.—Well, if Patrick hadn't forsook me, I shouldn't now want a companion.—Oh dear! here's the gentleman that my uncle is always teazing me about.

Fitz. A fine morning, madam; but your presence gives an additional lustre to the beauties of this charming scene.

Nor. Sir! [Curtsies.]

Fitz. [Taking her hand.] Nay, do not avert those lovely eyes—look kindly on me.

Bag. [Without.] Oh, maitre! maitre!

Nor. Do, sir, permit me to withdraw; our village is very censorious; and a gentleman being seen with me, will neither add to your honour, nor my reputation.

[Exit into the House.

Bag. [Without.] Ah, mon maitre!

Fitz. What does this blockhead want?

Enter Bagatelle hastily.

Bag. Ah, monsieur! Ah! ah! [Puffing.]

Fitz. Well, what's the matter?

Bag. Ah, Monsieur! I'm come—I'm come—to tell you—that—I'm out of breath——

Fitz. What's the matter?

Bag. It is all blown——

Fitz. I suppose my love affair here is discovered. [Half aside.

Bag. Oui, monsieur, I have discover dat all your Mareschal poudre is blown out of de vinde, and I must go to town for more.

Fitz. What! And is this the discovery that has made you run after me?

Bag. Non, monsieur; but I did like to forget to tell you dat my Lord Lofty, and all de fine ladies, wait for your honour's company in de breakfast parlour.

Fitz. Damn your impertinence, sirrah! why didn't you tell me this at first?—Follow me, and be in the way. [Exit.

Bag. Ah! mon maitre! Je vous remercie tres humblement. Jemeraire!—Ah, ah, ah! begar dis is de priest's house, and I did meet him in de village. Fort bien—ah, 'tis bon opportunité to make de love to his niece; I vil finish de affair with the coup d'eclat—Somebody come—Now for Mademoiselle Norah!

[Exit into Father Luke's House.

Enter Patrick.

Pat. Well, here I am after all the dangers of war, returned to my native village, two years older than I went—not much wiser—up to the heart in love, and not a sixpence in my pocket! [Darby sings without.] Isn't that Darby? 'tis indeed, and as foolish as ever.

Enter Darby singing, stops short, looks with surprize

Dar. Is it—Pat? [Runs to him.] My dear boy, you're welcome—you're welcome, my dear boy.

Pat. Thank you, Darby—How are all friends since I left them?

Dar. Finely; except a cow of mine that died last Michaelmas.

Pat. But how is my dear Norah?

Dar. As pretty as ever.—I must not tell him of the Mounseer that's about her house. [Aside.]—'Twas a shame for you to turn soldier, and run away from her.

Pat. Could I help it, when her ill-natured uncle refused me his consent, and she wouldn't marry me without it?

Dar. Why, Father Luke's very cross indeed to us young lovers. Eh, Pat, but let's look at you. Egad! you make a tight little soldier enough.

Pat. Ay, Darby, a soldier's the finest thing in the world.


How happy the soldier who lives on his pay,
And spends half-a-crown out of sixpence a day!
Yet fears neither justices, warrants, or bums,
But pays all his debts with the roll of his drums,
With a row de dow, &c.
He cares not a marvedie how the world goes,
His king finds him quarters, and money, and clothes,
He laughs at all sorrow, whenever it comes,
And rattles away with the roll of the drums,
With a row de dow, &c.
The drum is his glory, his joy, and delight;
It leads him to pleasure, as well as to fight;
No girl when she hears it, though ever so glum,
But packs up her tatters, and follows the drum,
With a row de dow, &c.

[Darby joins awkwardly in the song.

Dar. Ah, you'll have Norah with your row de dow! Od! if I thought I could get Kathlane by turning soldier, I'd list to-morrow morning.

Pat. Well, I'll introduce you to the serjeant.

Dar. Ay, do, if you please. I think I'd look very pretty in a red coat, ha, ha, ha! [Seems delighted with Patrick's dress.] Let's see how the hat and feather becomes me. [Takes off Patrick's hat, and discovers a large scar on his forehead.] What's that?

Pat. Only a wound I got in battle.

Dar. Hem! take your hat—I don't think regimentals would become me at all.

Pat. Ha, ha, ha! What! terrified at a scar, eh, Darby?

Dar. Me terrified! not I, I don't mind twenty scars; only it looks so conceited for a man to have a black patch upon his face; but how did you get that beauty spot?

Pat. In my attempt to save the life of an officer, I fell, and the bayonet of an American grenadier left me for dead, bleeding in my country's cause.

Dar. Left for dead! [Confused.]

Pat. There was glory for you, my boy!

Dar. Hem! and so they found you bleeding in your glory?

Pat. Come now, I'll introduce you to the serjeant.

Dar. [Looks out.] Hem! yes, I'm coming, sir! [Seems as if answering somebody without.]

Pat. Oh, yonder is the serjeant. [Looking out.] Where are you going?

Dar. To meet him. [Going the contrary way.] I'll be with you presently, sir. [Looks at Patrick.] Hem—glory—row de dow. [Exit.

Pat. Ha, ha, ha! the sight of a wound is enough for poor Darby—but now to see my sweet Norah, and then for a pitcher of friendship with my old companions.


The wealthy fool with gold in store
Will still desire to grow richer;
Give me but health, I'll ask no more,
My little girl, my friend, and pitcher.
My friend so rare,
My girl so fair,
With such what mortal can be richer?
Possess'd of these, a fig for care,
My little girl, my friend, and pitcher.
Though fortune ever shuns my door,
(I know not what can thus bewitch her,)
With all my heart can I be poor,
With my sweet girl, my friend, and pitcher.
My friend, &c.

[Exit into House.


SCENE II.—Inside of Father Luke's House.

Bagatelle discovered speaking at a chamber door.

Bag. I would only speak von vord vit you. Ouvrez la porte, ma chere; do open de door, si vous plait, Mademoiselle Norah.

Nor. [Within.] I request, sir, that you'll go away.

Bag. First give me de von little kiss for dat.

Nor. [Within.] Upon my word this is exceeding rude behaviour, and if my uncle finds you there, see what he'll say to you.

Bag. [Aside.] Oh de Father Luke; begar he may be enragé—vel, I am going—Bon matin, Mademoiselle Norah, I am going.

Pat. [Without.] Where is my charming girl?

Bag. Ah, mal peste! Begar, I am all take—I vill hide—[Goes into a Closet.]

Enter Patrick.

Pat. Eh! all the doors open, and nobody at home. [Knocks at the chamber door.] Who's here?

Nor. [Within.] You're a very rude man, and I desire you'll leave the house.

Pat. Leave the house! a kind reception after two years' absence.

Nor. [Entering.] Sure I know that voice.

Enter Norah.

My Patrick!

Pat. My dear, dear Norah!

Nor. If I was dear to you, ah Patrick, how could you leave me?

Pat. And were you sorry for my going?

Nor. Ah, my Patrick! judge of my sorrow at your absence by these tears of joy for your return. [Weeps.]

Pat. My sweet girl! this precious moment makes amends for all the dangers and fatigues I've suffered since our parting.

Bag. Ah, pauvre Bagatelle! [Aside.]

Pat. I heard a noise!

Nor. Oh heavens! if it should be my uncle—what shall I do! he's more averse to our union than ever. Hold, I'll run to the door.

Pat. And if you hear Father Luke coming up stairs, I'll step in here. [Opens Door, and discovers Bagatelle.] Is this your sorrow for my absence, and tears of joy for my return?

Bag. Begar, Monsieur, I am sorry for your return.

Nor. How unlucky!

Pat. Shut up here with a rascally hair-dresser!

Bag. Hair-dresser! Monsieur, you shall give me de satisfaction; I vill challenge you, and I vill meet you vid——

Pat. With your curling irons?

Bag. Curling irons! Ah, sacre Dieu!

Pat. Hold your tongue, except you like to walk out of a window.

Bag. Monsieur, to oblige you I vill valk out of de vindre, but I vould rather valk down stairs; I'm not particular in dat point.

Pat. March, sirrah! or I'll cudgel you while I can hold a splinter of shelelah. [Exit Bagatelle.]—Ah, Norah! could I have believed this of you?

Nor. Could I have believed Patrick would have harboured a thought to my disadvantage?

Pat. Ah, no matter!

Nor. And can you think me false?

Pat. If I do, Norah, my heart is the only sufferer.


A rose tree full in bearing,
Had sweet flowers fair to see;
One rose beyond comparing,
For beauty attracted me.
Though eager once to win it,
Lovely, blooming, fresh, and gay;
I find a canker in it,
And now throw it far away.
How fine this morning early,
All sun-shiny, clear, and bright;
So late I loved you dearly,
Though lost now each fond delight.
The clouds seem big with showers,
Sunny beams no more are seen;
Farewell, ye happy hours,
Your falsehood has changed the scene.

[Exeunt severally.




SCENE I—The Country.

Enter Darby.

Dar. Heigho! I must fall in love! I'd better have fell in the river—Oh dear! [Sighs.]

Bag. [Without.] Oh, Monsieur Darby!

Dar. Lord, this is Mr Bag and Tail the Mounseer.

Enter Bagatelle, with a Letter.

Bag. Ah, ha! Monsieur Darby; begar I did look all about, and I could not find you.

Dar. That's because I'm so wrap'd in love.

Bag. Monsieur Pat shall fight a me.

Dar. Oh, you're going to fight Pat?

Bag. Oui; and dis is de challenge, de lettre de mort.

Dar. Oh, what, you'll leather him more?

Bag. Diable! vat is dat leather a more? Attendez! Dis soldier Patrick did affront me; and I vil have de satisfaction.

Dar. But why kill Pat?

Bag. Ce Monsieur Pat, quel barbare!

Dar. Oh, because you're a barber.

Bag. Ah sacre Dieu! Vou'd you affront me?

Dar. Not I.

Bag. Taisez vous—You vil be my friend, if you vil give dis challenge to Monsieur Patrick.

Dar. Give it me; by the Lord Harry, man, he shall have it.

Bag. I vil not trust dat Lord Harry's man—Give it yourself.

Dar. Well, I will.

Bag. My Lor Lofty's coachy did write it for me as he is Englis.

Dar. Let's see. [Opens it and reads.]—"Sir, this comes hopping,"—Hopping! I'll run all the way if that will do—"that you're in good health, as I am at this present writing—I tell you what, friend, though, you think yourself a great officer, you don't make me walk out of a window; and this comes to let you know I'll have Norah in spite of you, I'll be damned if I don't; and moreover than that, meet me in the Elm Grove at seven in the evening, when you must give me satisfaction, but not with curling irons; till then I'm yours, as in duty bound."

Bag. Oui; dat is de etiquette of de challenge; I put no name for fear of de law.

Dar. It is not directed; but Pat shall have it.

Bag. Dat is it—You must come to de fight vid me—I have de pistols.

Dar. Pistols!

Bag. Oui; you sall be my seconde.

Dar. Pistols!—Second!—Eh, couldn't I be third or fourth?

Bag. Ah, Monsieur! you are wrong: toute autre chose.

Dar. Oh, I must get two other shoes. [Looking at his feet.]

Bag. Non—Vel, Monsieur Darby, serviteur; now I have sent my challenge, I am ready in de duel to decide de point d'honneur; and so I vil go—brush my master's coat. [Exit.

Dar. Pistols!—I don't much like giving this challenge to Pat—he's a devil of a fellow since he turned soldier; as he bid Monsieur walk out of a window, he may desire me to walk up the chimney. Ecod! the boy at the alehouse shall give it him. [Exit.

Enter Norah.

Nor. No where can I find him; and I fear my uncle will miss me from home. My letter must have convinced him how he wronged me by his suspicions. Unkind Patrick! if I could but once see him, a convent then is welcome; for I am determined never to give my hand to another. But here he comes.—My Patrick!

Enter Patrick.

Pat. My dear Norah, excuse my delay; but so many old acquaintances in the village.

Nor. You had my letter?

Pat. Yes; and I'm ashamed of my folly—to be jealous of such a baboon too!

Nor. Aye, he'd be soon discharged if his master, Captain Fitzroy, knew of his presumption.

Pat. Ah, Norah, I feel more terror at that one Captain's name, than I did at the sight of a whole army of enemies, drawn up in battle array against me.

Nor. My dearest Patrick, only be constant, love me as I think you do, and mine is fixt on such a basis of permanent affection as never to be shaken.

Pat. And can you prefer a poor foot-soldier to a captain, my sweet Norah?

Nor. Ah, my Patrick, you may be only a private soldier in the army, but you're a field officer here. [Lays her hand to her heart.]

Pat. Charming, generous girl!

Enter Fitzroy behind, in a plain scarlet frock, and
round hat

Fitz. [Aside.] My little country wife in company with a common soldier!

Nor. Don't fail to come to our house as you promised, for at that time my uncle will be down at Dermot's.—I've a notion 'twill be a match between him and Kathlane; my uncle's her guardian—Adieu, my Patrick! You'll come early. [Parting tenderly.]

[Exit Norah.

Pat. Happy Dermot! his Kathlane had not charms to attract the attention of this gentleman; but because Norah is most beautiful, Patrick is most unhappy.

Fitz. [Aside.] This is a timely and fortunate discovery—If I had married her, I should have been in a hopeful way. [Advancing.] A pretty girl you've got there, brother soldier!

Pat. [Looks earnestly at him.] She's handsome, sir.

Fitz. You seem to be well with her, eh?

Pat. [Sighs.] But without her—

Fitz. Oh, then, you think you shall be without her?

Pat. Yes, sir.

Fitz. What parts you?

Pat. My poverty.

Fitz. Why, she don't seem to be rich.

Pat. No, sir; but my rival is.

Fitz. Oh, you've a rival?

Pat. I have, sir.

Fitz. Now for a character of myself. [Aside.] Some rich rascal, I suppose?

Pat. Sir, I envy his riches only because they give him a superior claim to my Norah; and for your other epithet, I am sure he don't deserve it.

Fitz. How so?

Pat. Because he's an officer, and therefore a man of honour.

Fitz. It's a pity, my friend, that you're not an officer, you seem to know so well what an officer should be—Pray, have you been in any action?

Pat. I have seen some service.

Fitz. Carolina?

Pat. Yes, sir; I was at the crossing of Beattie's Ford.

Fitz. [With emotion.] Indeed!—Were you in the action at Beattie's Ford?

Pat. Here's my witness, sir. [Takes off his hat.] I received this wound in the rescue of an officer.

Fitz. By heaven!—the very soldier that saved my life! [Aside.]——Then I suppose he rewarded you handsomely?

Pat. I looked for no reward, sir. I fought—it was my duty as a soldier; to protect a fallen man was but an office of humanity. Good morning to your honour.—

Fitz. Where are you going now, my friend?

Pat. To abandon my country for ever.

Fitz. [Aside.] Poor fellow!——But, my lad, I think you'd best keep the field; for if the girl likes you, she'll certainly prefer you to your wealthy rival.

Pat. And for that reason I'll resign her to him. As I love her, I'll leave her to the good fortune she merits; it would be only love to myself, should I involve her in my indigence.

Fitz. Well, but my lad, take my advice, and see the girl once again before you go.

Pat. Sir, I'm obliged to you—you must be a good-natured gentleman, and I'll take your advice.—Then I will venture to see my Norah once more. [Exit.

Fitz. What a noble spirit!—There let the embroidered epaulet take a cheap lesson of bravery, honour, and generosity, from sixpence a day, and worsted lace.

Enter Boy with a Letter.

Boy. Pray, sir, are you the man in the red coat?

Fitz. Ha, ha, ha!—Why, yes, my little hero, I think I am the man in the red coat.

Boy. Then Darby desired me to give you that.[Exit unperceived.

Fitz. [Opening the Letter.] Darby! a new correspondent—[Reads.] "This comes hopping——h—m—h—m—" "duty bound."—A curious challenge.—And pray, my little friend, where is this Mr Darby? [Looks round.] Eh! I why the herald is off—My Norah seems to have plenty of lovers here—but how has my attachment transpired?—Seven o'clock in the Elm Grove—Well, we shall see what sort of stuff Mr Darby is made of. [Exit.


SCENE II.—Outside of Dermot's Cottage.

Enter Father Luke and Dermot.

F. Luke. Well now, Dermot, I've come to your house with you—what is this business?

Der. Oh, sir, I'll tell you.

F. Luke. Unburthen your conscience to me, child—speak freely—you know I'm your spiritual confessor.—Have you tapped the barrel of ale yet?

Der. That I have, sir, and you shall taste it.

[Exit into the House.

F. Luke. Aye, he wants to come round me for my ward Kathlane;—a wheedling son of a——

Re-enter Dermot with Ale.

My dear child, what's that?

Der. Only your favourite brown jug, sir.

F. Luke. [Taking it.] Now, child, why will you do these things? [Drinks.]

Der. I'll prime him well before I mention Kathlane. It's a hard heart that a sup can't soften. [Aside.

F. Luke. I think, Dermot, that jug and I are old acquaintance.

Der. That you are indeed, sir.


Dear sir, this brown jug, that now foams with mild ale,
Out of which I now drink to sweet Kate of the vale,
Was once Toby Filpot, a thirsty old soul,
As e'er crack'd a bottle, or fathom'd a bowl;
In boozing about, 'twas his praise to excel,
And amongst jolly topers he bore off the bell.

His body when long in the ground it had lain,
And time into clay had resolved it again,
A potter found out in his covert so snug,
And with part of old Toby he form'd this brown jug.
Now sacred to friendship, to mirth, and mild ale,
So here's to my lovely sweet Kate of the vale.

[Exit Dermot into House.

Enter Darby.

Dar. How do you do, Father Luke?

F. Luke. Go away, Darby; you're a rogue.

Dar. Father Luke, consent that I shall marry Kathlane.

F. Luke. You marry Kathlane, you reprobate!

Dar. Give her to me, and I'll give your reverence a sheep.

F. Luke. Oh, well; I always thought you were a boy that would come to good—A sheep!—You shall have Kathlane—You've been very wicked.

Dar. Not I, sir.

F. Luke. What! an't I your priest, and know what wickedness is—but repent it, and marry.

Dar. Yes, sir, I'll marry, and repent it.


Father Luke.
You know I'm your priest, and your conscience is mine,
But if you grow wicked, it's not a good sign;
So leave off your raking, and marry a wife,
And then, my dear Darby, you're settled for life:
Sing ballynomona ora,
A good merry wedding for me.

The banns being published, to chapel we go,
The bride and the bridegroom in coats white as snow;
So modest her hair, and so sheepish your look,
You out with your ring, and I pull out my book:
Sing ballynomona ora,
A good merry wedding for me.

I thumb out the place, and I then read away;
She blushes at love, and she whispers obey;
You take her dear hand to have and to hold,
I shut up my book, and I pocket your gold:
Sing ballynomona ora,
The snug little guinea for me.

You shall have Kathlane; and here she comes.

Dar.[Bowing.] Thank you, sir. [Both retire.

Enter Kathlane.

Kath. Is Dermot within, sir?

F. Luke. Kathlane, don't think of Dermot.—To her, man; put your best leg foremost. Go. [Makes signs to Darby.]

Dar. Oh, I must go and give her a kiss. [Kisses her.] He, he, he!—what sweet lips! he, he, he!—Speak for me, sir.

F. Luke. Hem! Child Kathlane——Is the sheep fat?

Dar. As bacon!

F. Luke. Child, this boy will make you a good husband;—won't you, Darby?

Dar. Yes, sir.

Kath. Indeed, Father Luke, I'll have nobody but Dermot.

F. Luke. I tell you, child, Dermot's an ugly man and a bad christian.

Enter Dermot.

Dar. Yes, you are a bad man and an ugly christian.

F. Luke. Come here, Dermot, take your mug—you empty fellow—I am going to marry Kathlane here, and you must give her away.

Der. Give her away! I must have her first; and it was to ask your consent that I——

F. Luke. Eh, what! you marry her! no such thing—put it out of your head.

Der. If that's the case, Father Luke, the two sheep that I intended as a present for you, I'll drive to the fair to-morrow, and get drunk with the money. [Going.

F. Luke. [Pauses.] Hey, two sheep! [Aside.]—Come back here; it's a sin to get drunk.—Darby, if you've nothing to do, get about your business.

Dar. Sir!

F. Luke. Dermot—child! isn't it this evening I am to marry you to Kathlane?

Dar. Him! why, lord, sir, it's me that you're to marry to her.

F. Luke. You, you ordinary fellow!

Dar. Yes, sir; you know I'm to give you——

F. Luke. [Apart to Dermot.] Two sheep?—[Loud to Darby.] You don't marry Kathlane.

Dar. No!

F. Luke. No; it is two to one against you—So get away, Darby.

Kath. and Der. Aye, get away, Darby.

F. Luke. [To Kathlane and Dermot.] Children, I expect Captain Fitzroy at my house for my niece Norah, and I'll couple you all as soon as I clap my thumb upon matrimony.


Father Luke, Dermot, Darby, and Kathlane.

Kathlane to Dermot.
You the point may carry
If a while you tarry;
To Darby.
But for you,
I tell you true,
No, you I'll never marry.
You the point, &c.
Care our souls disowning,
Punch our sorrows drowning,
Laugh and love
And ever prove
Joys, joys, our wishes crowning.
Care our, &c.
To the church I'll hand her,
[Offers to take her hand, she refuses.
Then through the world I'll wander,
I'll sob and sigh
Until I die,
A poor forsaken gander.
To the church, &c.
Father Luke.
Each pious priest since Moses
One mighty truth discloses,
You're never vext,
If this the text,
Go fuddle all your noses.
Each pious, &c.




Enter Fitzroy.

Fitz. Who can this challenger be? Some haymaker perhaps, to meet me with a reaping hook, ha, ha!

Bag. [Without.] Venez ici.

Fitz. [Looking out.] Eh! my man Bagatelle—Ah, the officious puppy, I suppose, has heard of the affair, and is come to prevent mischief.

Bag. [Without.] Come along, Monsieur Darby.

Fitz. Darby! the name the boy mentioned—Let's see. [Retires.

Enter Darby with a Pistol, and Bagatelle
with a Sword.

Dar. Mr Bag and Tail!

Bag. Well?

Dar. When I fall, as to be sure I shall—that is, if Pat's second is as wicked as I am—bring my body to Dermot and Kathlane's wedding.

Bag. I vil, Monsieur Darby.

Fitz. [Aside.] Can Bagatelle be the challenger?

Dar. When Pat shoots, I get behind you. [Stands at his back.]—You're cursed thin, one might as well stand behind a pitch-fork; I wish you were fatter.

Bag. Ah, diable! would you have me Dutchman?

Dar. Indeed I would, upon this occasion—I'd rather fight behind a Dutch weaver than a French churchwarden.

Fitz. [Advances.] Servant, gentlemen.

Bag. Mon maitre!

Fitz. So you send challenges, you rascal! [Shews Letter to Darby.]

Dar. Me, sir! Not I, sir—Oh! yes, sir, I—No, sir, I got it from Monsieur Bag and Tail. [Frightened.]

Bag. [Aside.] Ah diantre!

Fitz. [To Bagatelle.] Had you the impudence to write such a letter as this?

Bag. Non, monsieur—Lor Lofty's coachman.

Fitz. Coachman, sirrah!

Bag. Oui, monsieur—I vil tell your honour all touchant cet affaire—Sir, I vas—

Dar. Hold your jabbering! I'll tell the whole story in three words—Sir, you must know, Pat the soldier—No—Monsieur Bag and Tail—was—Father Luke's house—come up stairs—No—Norah bid him—says Pat, says he—[To Bagatelle.] What did he say?—Oh, she shut the door—out of the window; and before Pat could—no—after—how was it? [To Bagatelle.]

Bag. Oui, dat vas de whole affair.

Dar. Yes, sir, that was the whole affair.

Fitz. Upon my word, very clearly explained.

Dar. Yes, I didn't go to school for nothing.

Fitz. I find my little Norah is the object of universal gallantry. [Aside.]

Bag. Ah, monsieur, pardonnez moi!

Fitz. Get to your business, sirrah!

Bag. Ah malheureux! [Exit.

Dar. [Calling after him.] Yes, monsieur, you'd better stick to the curling-irons.

Fitz. Yes, my friend, and you had better stick to your flail and spade, than middle with sword and pistol. None but gentlemen should have privilege to murder one another in an honourable way. [Going.

Dar. One word, sir, if you please.

Fitz. [Returning.] Well, my honest friend!

Dar. Now, sir, Kathlane's quite lost; and I'll leave it to you, which of the two, Dermot or I, is the prettiest boy for it?

Fitz. Ha, ha, ha! Stupid scoundrel! [Exit.

Dar. Stupid scoundrel! You a captain!—Halloo, corporal! [Calls after Fitzroy.]

Re-enter Fitzroy.

Fitz. [Threatening.] How!

Dar. [Turning and calling to the other side.] I say you, corporal.

[Exit Fitzroy.

Dar. Such a swaggerer! Aye, I must go to town and learn to talk to these people.


Since Kathlane has proved so untrue,
Poor Darby, ah! what can you do?
No longer I'll stay here a clown,
But sell off and gallop to town;
I'll dress and I'll strut with an air,
The barber shall frizzle my hair.

In Dublin I'll cut a great dash;
But how for to compass the cash?
At gaming, perhaps, I may win,
With cards I can take the flats in;
Or trundle false dice, and their nick'd;
If found out I shall only be kick'd.

But first for to get a great name,
A duel establish my fame;
To my man then a challenge I'll write,
But first I'll take care he won't fight;
We'll swear not to part till we fall,
Then shoot without powder and—the devil a ball.



SCENE IV. and last.—Inside of Father Luke's

F. Luke. [Within.] Aye, I'll teach you to run after soldiers.

Nor. [Within.] Dear sir!

Enter Father Luke and Norah.

F. Luke. Come along! If you won't have Captain Fitzroy, you go to Boulogne. Pat the soldier, indeed! I'll send you to a convent—I will, by my function!

Nor. Sir, I am contented.

F. Luke. Contented! Very fine. So you put me into a passion, and now you're contented—Go—get in there, Mrs Knapsack! [Puts her in, and locks the Door—taps at the Door with the Key.] Consent to marry Captain Fitzroy, or there you stay till I ship you for France.

Enter Fitzroy.

Fitz. Eh, Father Luke! Who's going to France?

F. Luke. Only a young lady here, within, sir, that's a little refractory—she won't marry you, sir.

Fitz. Refuse my hand! Well, that I did not expect. But do you resign her to me, sir?

F. Luke. There, with that key I deliver up my authority. [Gives Key.] And now, if I can find Mr Patrick her soldier, he goes to the county gaol for a vagabond. A jade! to lose the opportunity of making herself a lady. [Exit.

Fitz. Oh! here is her soldier.

Enter Patrick.

Pat. Well, sir, by your advice I have ventured here, like a spy into an enemy's camp.

Fitz. [Sternly.] Pray, my friend, were you ever brought to the halberts?

Pat. Sir!

Fitz. How came you absent from your regiment? Have you a furlough?

Pat. [Confused.] Not about me, sir.

Fitz. Because you must know I have the honour to bear the king's commission, and am obliged to take you up for a deserter.

Pat. Sir, it was a reliance on your honour and good-nature that trepanned me here; therefore, sir—

Fitz. No talk, sir; it was for the good of the service I trepanned you hither, as you call it. I've a proper person prepared here, into whose custody I shall deliver you. [Unlocks the Door.]

Pat. What a cruel piece of treachery! [Aside.]

Fitz. [Presenting Norah.] Since you reject me, madam, here's one that will know how to deal with you. [Joins their Hands.]

Nor. My Patrick!

Pat. Oh, Norah! if this is real, let's kneel and thank our benefactor.

Fitz. No, Patrick; you were my deliverer. I am that very officer whose life you saved at Beattie's Ford. Is it possible that, seeing me now without my uniform, you should not recollect me? Take from me the reward of your generosity, valour, and constancy.

F. Luke. [Without.] No, I can't find the run-away rascal.

Pat. Your uncle!

Nor. Oh, heavens!

Fitz. Don't be alarmed.

Enter Father Luke, Dermot, Darby, and

F. Luke. What's here? Patrick!—Dermot and Darby, lay hold of him.

Der. Not I.

Dar. I'm no constable.

F. Luke. I say, take him. The serjeant shall lay hold of him.

Dar. Why, sir, the white serjeant has laid hold of him.

Fitz. Dear sir, don't be so violent against a young man that you'll presently marry to your niece.

F. Luke. Me! Bring a foot-soldier into my family!

Fitz. He's no longer so; I have a commission to dispose of, and I cannot set a higher value on it than by bestowing it on one so worthy.

F. Luke. An officer! Oh, that's another thing.

Dar. Pat an officer! I'll list to-morrow in spite of the black patch.

Kath. [To Norah.] My dear Norah, I wish you joy.

Dar. [Apart to Kathlane.] How dare you make so free with an officer's lady?

F. Luke. But, captain, why do you give up my niece?

Fitz. Sir, the captain thought himself unworthy of her, when he found superior merit in the Poor Soldier!


More true felicity I shall find
When these are joined,  [To Pat. and Nor.
By fortune kind;
How pleasing to me,
So happy to see
Such merit and virtue united.
No future sorrows can grieve us,
If you will please to forgive us;
To each kind friend
We lowly bend [Curtsies.]—
Your pardon—with joy we're delighted.
With my commission, yet, dearest life!
My charming wife!
When drum and fife
Shall beat up to arms,
The plunder your charms,
In love your Poor Soldier you'll find me.
Love my petition has granted,
I get the dear lad that I wanted;
Less pleased with a duke,
When good Father Luke
To my own little Dermot has joined me.
You impudent hussy, at a pretty rate
Of love you prate,
But harkee, Kate,
Your dear little lad
Will find that his pad
Has got a nice—kick in her gallop.
Father Luke.
Now, Darby, upon my salvation,
You merit excommunication;
In love but agree,
And shortly you'll see,
In marriage I'll soon tie you all up.
The devil a bit o' me cares a bean,
For neat and clean
We'll both be seen,
Myself and my lass,
Next Sunday at mass,
And there will be coupled for ever.
The laurel I've won in the field, sirs,
Yet now in a garden I yield, sirs,
Nor think it a shame
Your mercy to claim—
Your mercy's my sword and my shield, sirs.


[The end of The Poor Soldier by John O'Keeffe]