The Mountains of Mourne

#amwriting #IrishMusic

Written by Percy French in 1896, The Mountains of Mourne shows us a somewhat naive and gullible Irish lad who finds himself in London for the first time. It’s a charming song, not without humor and self-deprecation. You can hear a version of it by Irish Mist here.

THE MOUNTAINS OF MOURNE

Oh, Mary, this London’s a wonderful sight
With people here working by day and by night;
They don’t sow potatoes, nor barley nor wheat,
But there’ gangs of them digging for gold in the streets.
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 believe that when writin’ a wish you expressed
As to how the fine ladies in London were dressed,
Well, if you believe me, when asked to a ball,
Faith, they don’t wear no top to their dresses at all.
Oh, I’ve seen them myself and you could not in trath
Say if they were bound for a ball or a bath!
Don’t be startin’ them fashions now, Mary Macree,
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’Loughlin, of course,
Well, now he is here at the head of the force!
I met him today, I was crossing the Strand,
And he stopped the whole street with a wave of his hand.
And there we stood talkin’ of days that are gone
While the whole population of London looked on.
But for all these great powers he’s wishful like me
To be back where the dark Mourne sweeps 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 O’Loughlin remarked 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
Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

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