Protestant Boys (The)
Back to Protestant Boys (The)
PROTESTANT BOYS. AKA and see "Lillibulero," "Lilly Bullery," "Bumpers are Flowing," "Orange and Green Will Carry the Day." Irish (originally), American; Jig or Air (6/8 time, "with spirit"). G Major (Bayard, Jarman, O'Neill): D Major (Bayard, Levey): A Major (Gunn, Kerr). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (most versions): AABB (Gunn, Kerr/vol. 4). The tune, originally "Lillibulero," was associated by the Irish with the conquering English of William of Orange, and was subsequently adopted by the Protestant Scots-Irish as a kind of patriotic anthem. Chappell and Simpson cite several 17th century broadsides of an anti-Catholic nature that could have been sung to the tune, all of which feature the phrase "Protestant Boys" prominently and recurrently. On the strength of this Bayard (1981) dates the version of this tune married to the title above from the late 1680's on.
Since the 19th century, the melody has been closely linked with a popular Orange song that begins:
The Protestant Boys are loyal and true
Stout-hearted in battle and stout-handed too
The Protestant Boys are true to the last
And faithful and peaceful when danger has passed
And oh they bear and proudly wear
The colours that floated o'er many a fray
Where cannon were flashing
And sabres were clashing
The Protestant Boys still carried the day.
Source for notated version: Hiram Horner (fifer from Westmoreland and Fayette Counties, Pa.) [Bayard].
Printed sources: Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 445A-B, p. 414. William Gunn (The Caledonian Repository of Music Adapted for the Bagpipes), Glasgow, 1848; p. 77. Jarman (Old Time Fiddlin' Tunes); No. or p. 16. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 4), c. 1880’s; No. 228, p. 25. R.M. Levey (First Collection of the Dance Music of Ireland), 1858; No. 105, p. 41. O'Neill (O’Neill’s Irish Music), 1915; No. 45, p. 29. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 19, p. 4.
Recorded sources: F&W Records 1; "F&W String Band."
See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources