An Irish Mother

1A wee slip drawin' water,
2    Me ould man at the plough,
3No grown-up son nor daughter,
4    That's the way we're farmin' now.
5'No work and little pleasure'
6    Was the cry before they wint,
7Now they're gettin' both full measure,
8    So I ought to be contint.
9Great wages men is givin'
10    In the land beyant the say,
11But 'tis lonely -- lonely livin'
12    Whin the childher is away.
13Och, the baby in the cradle,
14    Blue eyes and curlin' hair,
15God knows I'd give a gra'dle
16    To have little Pether there;
17No doubt he'd find it funny
18    Lyin' here upon me arm,
19Him -- that's earnin' the good money,
20    On a Californy farm.
21Six pounds it was or sivin
22    He sint last quarter day,
23But 'tis lonely -- lonely livin'
24    When the childher is away.
25God is good -- none betther,
26    And the Divil might be worse,
27Each month there comes a letther
28    Bringing somethin' for the purse.
29And me ould man's heart rejoices
30    Whin I read they're doin' fine,
31But it's oh! to hear their voices,
32    And to feel their hands in mine.
33To see the cattle drivin'
34    And the young one's makin' hay,
35''Tis a lonely land to live in
36    When the childher is away.'
37Whin the shadders do be fallin'
38    On the ould man there an' me,
39'Tis hard to keep from callin'
40    'Come in, childher, to yer tea!'
41I can almost hear them comin'
42    Mary, Kate and little Con, --
43Och! but I'm the foolish woman,
44    Sure they're all grown up an' gone.
45That our sins may be forgiven,
46    An' not wan go asthray,
47I doubt I'd stay in Heaven
48    If them childher was away.
Publication Notes: 
Best Irish Songs of Percy French ed. Tony Butler (London: Wolfe Publishing Ltd., 1971): 20-21. ML54.6 .F7B4 Robarts Library
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire