"Croppies Lie Down" is a loyalist anti-rebel folksong dating from the 1798 rebellion in Ireland celebrating the defeat and suppression of the rebels. The author has been reported as George Watson-Taylor.
This song illustrates the deep divisions which existed in Ireland at the time of the 1798 rebellion. Irish Catholics, and to a lesser extent Dissenters, were legally excluded from political and economic life. The United Kingdom was at war with revolutionary France at the time, and Irish republicans were encouraged by rumours that France would invade the island. The highly partisan lyrics describe the rebels as treacherous cowards and those fighting them as brave defenders of the innocent. "Croppies" meant people with closely cropped hair, a fashion associated with the French revolutionaries, in contrast to the wigs favoured by the aristocracy. In George Borrow's 1862 travel book Wild Wales, the author comes upon an Anglo-Irish man singing the tune.
The lyrics to the song begin:
There follow several verses which depict the singers' view of the rebels as cowardly and treacherous:In Dublin the traitors were ready to rise And murder was seen in their lowering eyes With poison, the cowards, they aimed to succeed And thousands were doomed by the assassins to bleed But the yeoman advanced, of rebels the dread And each croppy soon hid his dastardly head
The fear of a French invasion is referred to:
The final verse concludes menacingly: