This ballad is about the Irish rebel, Robert Emmet who launched a failed uprising in 1803. Emmet was a protestant Republican who succeeded in getting the support of Napoleon for the United Irishmen rebellion of 1798. It was too little, too late.
Robert Emmet was hung and then beheaded on 20th September, 1803. Confusion still remains as to where his body was eventually laid to rest, and whether or not it was secretly moved by his sister to St Peter’s Church in Aungier Street. No final resting place exists for the body of this proud son of Ireland.
Before his sentence was passed, Emmet delivered his famous Speech from the dock. His fine words and sentiment contained a profound request that might explain why no marker has been placed for one of the most noble of all Irish rebels. It is best known for the closing lines:
Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance, asperse them. Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, and my memory in oblivion, until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.
Rebel Voice is of the opinion, that perhaps it is high time that the conditions set out for Emmet’s epitaph to be written, were met at last.