Ode to Charles Cunningham Boycott

Last updated on July 21, 2023

Charles Cunningham Boycott was a British army captain in Ireland. He is the eponym for the English verb and common noun boycott.


You came from England to the land of green
A captain in the army, brave and bold
You served the Earl of Erne as his agent
And managed his estates in County Mayo

You faced the Irish tenants’ agitation
They asked for fair rent, fixity, and sale
You tried to evict them from their holdings
But they resisted with a novel plan

They shunned you and they cut off all your dealings
They would not work for you or speak your name
They made you an example for the nation
And gave the world a word that still remains

Boycott, boycott, they cried out in defiance
Boycott, boycott, they spread it far and wide
Boycott, boycott, they made you feel their silence
Boycott, boycott, they left you terrified

You called for help from soldiers and from peelers
You hired men from Ulster to save your crops
You wrote a letter to The Times of London
And stirred the press to take your side and cause

But all your efforts were in vain and fruitless
You could not break the Land League’s iron will
You spent more money than you ever harvested
And soon you had to leave the land you tilled

Boycott, boycott, they sang out in rejoicing
Boycott, boycott, they made you flee and hide
Boycott, boycott, they celebrated their victory
Boycott, boycott, they changed the course of history

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