COME BACK PADDY REILLY

COME BACK, PADDY REILLY

The Garden of Eden has vanished they say,

But I know the lie of it still.

Just turn to the left at the bridge of Finea,

And stop when halfway to Cootehill.

‘Tis there I will find it, I know sure enough,

When fortune has come to my call.

Oh, the grass it is green around Ballyjamesduff,

And the blue sky is over it all!

And tones that are tender and tones that are gruff

Are whispering over the sea,

“Come back Paddy Reilly, to Ballyjamesduff,

Come home, Paddy Reilly, to me.”

My mother once told me that when I was born,

The day that I first saw the light,

I looked down the street on that very first morn

And gave a great crow of delight.

Now most new-born babies appear in a huff

And start with a sorrowfull squall,

But I knew I was born in Ballyjamesduff

And that’s why I smiled on them all!

The babies a man now, he’s toil-worn and tough,

Still whispers come over the sea,

“Come back, Paddy Reilly, to Ballyjamesduff,

Come home, Paddy Reilly, to me.”

The night that we danced by the light o’ the moon,

Wid Phil to the fore wid his flute,

When Phil threw his lips over “come agin soon,”

He’d dance the foot out o’ yer boot!

That day I took long Maggie by the scruff,

For slanderin, Rosie Kilrain;

Then marchin’ him straight out of Ballyjamesduff,

Assisted him into a drain.

Oh! sweet are me dreams as the dudeen I puff,

Of whisperings over the sea:

“Come back, Paddy Reilly, to Ballyjamesduff,

Come home, Paddy Reilly, to me.”

I’ve loved the young weeman of every land,

That always came easy to me;

Just barrin’ the belles of the Blackamore brand,

And the chocolate shapes of Feegee.

But that sort of love is a moonshining stuff,

And never will addle me brain;

For bells will be ringin’ in Ballyjamesduff

For me and me Rosie Kilrain.

And all through their glamour, their gas, and their guff,

A whisper comes over the sea:

“Come back, Paddy Reilly, to Ballyjamesduff,

Come home, Paddy Reilly, to me.”

French, Percy. (1980) ‘Prose, Poems & Parodies.’  Dublin, Helicon Limited