Small farmers of the irish famine period were forced to pay heavy rents and taxes despite the hard times. if unable, they were evicted and sent packing on the roads. this was one main cause of the huge migrations from ireland to america in the decade spanning 1845 to 1855. between famine-induced illness, starvation and emigration, ireland lost over a third of its population in that period alone. in the united states now, 40 million people claim irish heritage.
A droimeann donn dílis, the landlord is come
like a foul blast of death, he has shook over our home
he has withered the roof-tree beneath the cold sky
and houseless and homeless tonight we must lie
With my health and my strength, with hard labor and toil
i drained the wet marsh, and i tilled the harsh soil
i toiled the long day through, from morning 'til even'
and i thought in my heart i'd a foretaste of heaven
But they wracked me and ground me, with tax and with rent
'til my heart it was seared and my life-blood was spent
ah it's hard to forgive it, and to think i must bear
that strangers shall reap the reward of my care
I knelt down three times for to utter a prayer
but my heart it was cold and the words were not there
ah wild were the thoughts through my dizzy head came
like the rushing of wind through a forest of flame
I bid you old comrade, a long last farewell
for the gaunt hand of famine has clutched us too well
it has severed the master, and you my good cow
with a blight on my life and a brand on your brow...