The Mountains of Mourne

1Oh Mary, this London's a wonderful sight,
2Wid the people here workin' by day and by night:
3    They don't sow potatoes, nor barley, nor wheat,
4    But there's gangs o' them diggin' for gold in the street --
5At least, when I axed them, that's what I was told,
6So I just took a hand at this diggin' for gold.
7    But for all that I've found there, I might as well be
8    Where the Mountains o' Mourne sweep down to the sea.
9I believe that, when writin', a wish you expressed
10As to how the fine ladies of London are dressed.
11    Well, if you'll believe me, when axed to a ball,
12    They don't wear a top to their dresses at all!
13Oh, I've seen them meself, and you could not, in thrath,
14Say if they were bound for a ball or a bath --
15    Don't be startin' them fashions now, Mary Machree,
16    Where the Mountains o' Mourne sweep down to the sea.
17I've seen England's King from the top of a bus --
18And I never knew him, though he means to know us:
19    And though by the Saxon we once were oppressed,
20    Still, I cheered -- God forgive me -- I cheered with the rest.
21And now that he's visited Erin's green shore
22We'll be much better friends than we've been heretofore
23    When we've got all we want, we're as quiet as can be
24    Where the Mountains o' Mourne sweep down to the sea.
25You remember young Peter O'Loughlin, of course --
26Well, here he is now at the head of the Force.
27    I met him to-day, I was crossin' the Strand,
28    And he stopped the whole street wid wan wave of his hand:
29And there we stood talking of days that are gone,
30While the whole population of London looked on;
31    But for all these great powers, he's wishful like me,
32    To be back where dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea.
33There's beautiful girls here -- oh, never you mind!
34With beautiful shapes Nature never designed,
35    And lovely complexions, all roses and crame,
36    But O'Loughlin remarked wid regard to them same:
37    'That if at those roses you venture to sip,
38    The colour might all come away on your lip,'
39    So I'll wait for the wild rose that's waitin' for me --
40    Where the Mountains o' Mourne sweep down to the sea.
Publication Notes: 
Best Irish Songs of Percy French ed. Tony Butler (London: Wolfe Publishing Ltd., 1971): 9-10. ML54.6 .F7B4 Robarts Library
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire