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gargoyle Origins: Wearin' o' the Green (58* d) RE: Weain' o' the Green 24 Jun 99


An interesting collection of commentary on Street Ballads may be found, with a specific reference to this song at: Wearing of the Green

Daniel O'Connell, the Irish leader commemorated in the last stanza, died in 1847. H. P. Such was "the last of the ballad publishers"; he began business in 1849, and his family continued it "until as late as 1917" (Leslie Shepard, John Pitts [London: Private Libraries Association], 1969), 84). Presumably the number "599" refers to Such's inventory of items for sale.

This ballad updates (and names, in the next-to-last stanza) a famous ballad of the same title, in circulation since the turn of the century and later revised by the Irish-American playwright Dion Boucicault (1820?-1890). It began, "Oh! Paddy dear and did you hear the news that's going round,/ The Shamrock is forbidden by law to grow on Irish ground./ No more St. Patrick's Day we'll keep, his colors can't be seen,/ For there's a cruel law against the wearing of the Green.// I met with Napper Tandy, and he took me by the hand,/ And he said 'How's poor old Ireland and how does she stand?'/ She's the most distressful country that ever yet was seen,/ For they're hangin' men an' women for the wearing of the Green." (James Napper Tandy, the Irish revolutionary hero, died in 1803.)


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