The Mountains of Mourne

Wid the people here workin’ by day and by night:
They don’t sow potatoes, not barley, nor wheat,
But there’s gangs o’ them diggin’ for gold in the street-
At least, when I axed them, that’s what I was told,

So I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold,
But for all that I found there, I might as well be
Where the Mountains o’ Mourne sweep down to the sea.
I believe that, when writin’, a wish you expressed
As to how the fine ladies in London were dressed.

Well, if you’ll believe me, when axed to a ball,
They don’t wear a top to their dresses at all!
Oh, I’ve seen them meself, an you could not, in thrath,
Say if they were bound for a ball or a bath-

Don’t be startin’ them fashions now, Mary Machree,
Where the Mountains o’Mourne sweep down to the sea.
I seen England’s King from the top of a ‘bus-
I never knew him, though he means to know us:

And thoughby the Saxon we once were oppressed,
Still, I cheered – God forgive me – I cheered w d the rest.
And now that he’s visited Eirn’s green shore,
We’ll be much better friends than we’ve been he e- tofore,

When we’ve got all we want, we’re as quiet as can be
Where the Mountains o’ Mourne sweep down to the sea.
You remember young Peter O’Loughlin, of course-
Well, here he is now at the head o’ the Force.

I met hin to-day, I was crossin’ the Strand,
And he stopped the whole street wid wan wave of his hand:
And there we stood talking of days that are gone,
While the whole population of London looked on;

But for all the great powers, he’s wishful like me,
To be back where dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea.
There’s beautiful girls here – oh, never mind!
With beautiful shapes Nature never designed,

And lovely complexions, all roses and crame,
But O;Loughlin remarked wid regard to the same:
“That if at theose roses you venture to sip,
The colour might all come away on your lip,”

So I’ll wait for the wild rose that’s waitin’ for me –
Where the Mountains o’ Mourne sweep down to the sea.

Prose, Poems & Parodies of Percy French, 1980, Helicon Limited, Dublin.


Ticketing information and pricing to come


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The 15th Percy French Festival

French Awakenings

19th, 20th, 21st July 2023

At Castlecoote House

Honorary President of the Festival, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins.

Informed Social & Cultural Discussion of Ireland Today.