Irish Poetry X - William Percy French - Mountains o'Mourne



Mountains o'Mourne
William Percy French (1854-1920)

Oh Mary, this London's a wonderful sight,
With people here workin' by day and by night.
They don't sow potatoes, nor barley, nor wheat,
But there's gangs of 'em diggin' for gold in the street.
At least when I asked 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 of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

I've seen England's king from the top of a bus
And I've never known him, but he means to know us.
And tho' by the Saxon we once were oppressed,
Still I cheered, God forgive me, I cheered with the rest.
And now that he's visited Erin's green shore
We'll be much better friends than we've been heretofore
When we've got all we want, we're as quiet as can be
Where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

You remember young Peter O'Laughlin, of course?
Well, now he is here at the head of the force.
I met him today while crossing the Strand,
And he stopped the whole street with one wave of his hand!
And as we stood talking of days that are gone,
The whole population of London looked on!
But for all his great powers, he's wishful like me
To be back where the dark Mourne sweeps 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 asked to a ball,
They don't wear no tops to their dresses at all!
Oh, I've seen them meself, and you could not in truth
Tell if they were bound for a ball or a bath!
Don't be startin' them fashions, now, Mary McCree,
Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

There's beautiful girls here, oh, never you mind,
With beautiful shapes nature never designed,
And lovely complexions all roses and cream,
But let me remark, with regard to the same,
That if at those roses you venture to sip,
The colours might all come away on your lip!
So I'll wait for the wild rose that's waitin' for me
In the place where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea.

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