"Irish Blood, English Heart" as written by Alain Gordon Whyte and Steven Patrick Morrissey....
Irish blood English heart,
This I'm made of,
There is no one on earth I'm afraid of,
And no regime can buy or sell me

I've been dreaming of a time when,
To be English is not to be baneful,
To be standing by the flag, not feeling shameful,
Racist or racial

Irish blood English heart,
This I'm made of,
There is no one on earth I'm afraid of,
And I will die with both of my hands untied

I've been dreaming of a time when,
The English are sick to death of Labor, and Tories,
And spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell,
And denounce this royal line that still salute him,
And will salute him

Lyrics submitted by cactusdave, edited by cameronDB, clemfandango, billy11152

"Irish Blood, English Heart" as written by Steven Patrick Morrissey Alain Gordon Whyte

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Irish Blood, English Heart song meanings
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  • +7
    My InterpretationThis song is about Morrissey wanting to reclaim the flag from racists, imperialists and royalists. He wants be proud of both his Irish bloodline and his English nationality but questioning if such pride is viable or compatable. Morrissey, the child of an Irish Catholic immigrant family, recognises that to be either Irish or English in today's society is to be relatively free anyway so why does he still feel that to be English is to be baneful or to stand in front of the flag is shameful?

    Although posters such as Matt Lewis and ollygrant have mentioned the positives that Cromwell was able to bring to England, and I do not dispute them, it is clear Morrissey is definitely anti-Cromwell in this song. As an Irishman I can tell you that Cromwell is probably the most despised and villanous character in Irish history. People may have missed out on deadleg's sarcasm in his post where he compared Cromwell to Hitler but he was right in trying to make you understand that no matter how many positives a historical figure may have been able to provide for your country, it does not justify heinous crimes, regicide and mass murder. The best line is:

    spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell
    and denounce this royal line that still salute him
    and will salute him

    In essence this line doesn't really make sense because Oliver Cromwell was actually an anti-royalist (a Roundhead) and actually fought to displace the monarchy forever. I think Morrissey was being ironic by claiming the royal family still salute him, why would they? He despised them and temporarily removed them from power for 11 years? Well, after the extremely unstable English Interregnum of parliamentary and military rule between 1649 and 1660 and Cromwell's death, the monarchy was restored but it never again had the same power and England was never again ruled by Absolute Monarchy. Instead the monarchy became increasingly subordinate to English parliament (Constituional Monarchy) but continued to enjoy all the wealth and prestige of being figure heads for the British empire.

    I know what I have said above is very summarised but I think Morrissey is simply saying the royal family are actually grateful to Cromwell for ensuring their legacy. Cromwell's rule was unstable and fraught with problems compared to the grand imperialism of the monarchy's rule. Cromwell, with his unstable and draconian reign, inadvertently convinced the British public that monarchy was a good thing and necessary for stability. The monarchs now possess no real power but still enjoy adoration, immeasurable wealth and very little responsibility to the British public. They are saluting Cromwell for providing them with such a "cushty number" as they say.

    As long as the ruling classess in Britain (politicians, the army and especially royalty) continue to utilise and monopolise the british flag in their various forms of ceremony (as do the racists in the BNP) morrissey must be content simply with Irish blood and an English heart.
    PrettyPettyThiefon April 16, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti like this song because i despise the royal family.
    vadgeon November 03, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think that any comment on this son should include a little history of Morrissey...

    Way back in the early 90's he was derided in the music press for draping himself in the English flag. This was a few years before Brit Pop and Oasis. The flag has now - slowly but surely - been taken away from the right wing (or as you poor merkins put it centralist - your left wing is still slightly right of Thatcher) and to try allow us English souls be proud of who we are.

    Oliver Cromwell did end the divine right of Kings but created a religious hell that is echoed with the current American climate - don't forget America was set up by people who could not cope with the religious freedom of English restoration and decided to set up a little enclave of there own, later to be legalised by the secular founding fathers.

    This religious country started the subjugation of the Irish people and turned the mostly catholic population in to peasants owned by the bailiffs and the sheriffs who were Protestant,. this lead to sectarian hatred and on to the Troubles.

    As far as I con work out Morrissey is saying he is proud of being English, from Irish stock and loves both sides of the sea, but hates how politicians use this love for their own ends.
    Drew Lakeon September 28, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commentollygrant: "Furthermore, Oliver Cromwell name has been tarnished unfairly. It should be remembered he furthered parliament and British freedoms." Good point. I mean, Hitler moved Germany along alot, greating, jobs, transport, the list goes on. Now his name is tarnished for the holocaust. *sighs*
    deadlegon May 17, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is about the Irish Slavery Trade in the middles 1600s.

    "In the Irish historical narrative, Queen Elizabeth I and Oliver Cromwell are seen far differently from how they are seen by the British. Under their rule began a campaign of ethnic cleansing that involved murder, deportation and sale into slavery."

    That explains the part about Oliver Cromwell very well and also the part that talks about racism. Irish slaves were considerated human cattle and often were treated worse than their African counterparts, since Africans were more expensive to purchase.

    If we read the song within this context it makes a lot of sense.

    1.- "...And no regime can buy or sell me"

    2.- "...To be standing by the flag, not feeling shameful, Racist or racial"

    3.- "...And I will die with both of my hands untied."

    4.- "...And spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell,
    And denounce this royal line that still salute him,
    And will salute him

    Finally, in relation with his "English Heart" I assume he wants to be as proud of being English as he is of his Irish blood, but at the same time he isn't afraid of calling himself an English.

    And that is how I see it :)
    ingridroon March 27, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDunno why, but this song gives me a nice punkpop vibe :)
    HateSaikoon April 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenter... isn´t this one line more like
    "...racist or partial"?
    arwhynon June 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI can identify with Morrisey's dilemma here; although in my case it was my great grandparents who were Irish catholic immigrants, I still feel the connection with my heritage which sometimes puts me at odds with the country of my birth, England. But who exactly are the English? When the Romans came, it was populated by Ancient Britons (Celts), and was later overrun and controlled by Angles and Saxons from an area which is now North Germany. Then came the Vikings from Sweden, Norway and Denmark, who took their chunk of it and became part of the population. Then the Normans who came from Scandinavia by way of northern France having picked up some French blood on the way. So there you have it; Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France... my roots are actually closer to England than those of the people who are currently waving the Flag of St George. But Morrisey is talking about more recent events, i.e the subjugation and attempted genocide inflicted upon the native Irish by the English, embodied in Cromwell who was the single worst perpetrator of such crimes in Anglo-Irish history. I find comfort in the fact that my ancestor Hugh O'Neill was a superior general who inflicted a humiliating defeat upon Cromwell at Clonmel, and Cromwell's exhumed head displayed on a spike at Westminster for 25 years was a far more fitting monument than any pigeon-shit covered statue outside Parliament.
    Judd33333on November 10, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow. with my racial background, and my knowledge of history, and my pride for my historical homelands (ireland and england included prominently)...I can give this a major thumbs-up, and smile every time I hear the song.
    harperdcon April 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love Morrissey, what a great song.
    im transatlanticon May 02, 2004   Link

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