Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye

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Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye es una canción tradicional irlandesa de temática antibelicista y antireclutamiento, origen del popular tema estadounidense When Johnny Comes Marching Home. Aunque no se conoce ninguna versión publicada de la canción irlandesa anterior a la edición de 1863 de la versión estadounidense, el tema es normalmente datado a principios del siglo XIX, cuando las tropas irlandesas sirvieron para la Compañía Británica de las Indias Orientales. La canción hace referencia a los soldados oriundos de la ciudad de Athy, en el condado de Kildare, que lucharon en "Sulloon" (Ceilán, la actual Sri Lanka).

Letra[editar]

Esta es la letra normalmente cantada hoy en día. El último verso parece ser un añadido relativamente reciente, y no aparece en la versión de Anthology of Irish Verse, libro editado en 1922 por el folklorista Padraic Colum.

While goin' the road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo

While goin' the road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo
While goin' the road to sweet Athy
A stick in me hand and a drop in me eye
A doleful damsel I heard cry,
Johnny I hardly knew ye.

With your guns and drums and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
With your guns and drums and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
With your guns and drums and drums and guns
The enemy nearly slew ye
Oh my darling dear, Ye look so queer
Johnny I hardly knew ye.

Where are your eyes that were so mild, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your eyes that were so mild, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your eyes that were so mild
When my heart you so beguiled?
Why did ye run from me and the child?
Oh Johnny, I hardly knew ye.

Where are your legs that used to run, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your legs that used to run, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your legs that used to run
When you went for to carry a gun
Indeed your dancing days are done
Oh Johnny, I hardly knew ye.

I'm happy for to see ye home, hurroo, hurroo
I'm happy for to see ye home, hurroo, hurroo
I'm happy for to see ye home
All from the island of Ceylon
So low in flesh, so high in bone
Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye.

Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg, hurroo, hurroo
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg, hurroo, hurroo
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg,
Ye're an armless, boneless, chickenless egg,
Ye'll have to be put with a bowl out to beg,
Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye.

They're rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
They're rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
They're rolling out the guns again,
But they never will take our sons again,
No they never will take our sons again,

Johnny I'm swearing to ye.

Variaciones[editar]

  • El verso del coro With your drums and guns and drums and guns es sustituido a veces por With your drums and guns and guns and drums.
  • Why did ye run from me and the child?, por Why did ye skedaddle from me and the child?.
  • Sullon, por Ceylon.
  • Where are the legs that used to run?, por Where are the legs with which you run?.

Versiones[editar]

  • Joan Baez incluyó con frecuencia la canción en sus conciertos de mediados de los años setenta contra la guerra de Vietnam.
  • El grupo inglés Steeleye Span grabó una versión sustancialmente diferente en su álbum Rocket Cottage llamada Fighting for strangers.
  • El grupo The Tossers grabó una versión en los años noventa.
  • La banda Dropkick Murphys incluyó una versión en su álbum The meanest of Times'

Curiosidades[editar]

  • Kenneth O'Donnell, asesor de John F. Kennedy, escribió un libro, publicado en 1983, sobre el asesinado presidente titulado Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye.
  • El Himno a los Comando de los ejércitos de Colombia y Ecuador, utilizan la misma melodía de Johnny I Hardly Knew 'Ye, siendo su título "Saliendo de sus bases los comandos ya se van"