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St. Patrick Was A Gentleman

(Words by Henry Bennett, Mr. Toleken; Arranged: Brendan Nolan)

[Tempus Fugitive]


I believe this was written around the early 1800's, and probably in America. The names of the authors do not suggest that it was written by people of Irish descent, but that would not have been unusual in the case of many Irish-American songs. It's a very clever piece of writing, even if it bears little resemblance to the actual life of the Saint. I've combined versions of the song that I've heard and have sheet music for. One was in a book called "Happiness is 70 Irish Songs" from the The Big 3 Music Corporation.

Patrick was a gentleman, and he came from decent people
He built a church in Dublin town, and on it put a steeple
His father was a Gallagher, and his mother was a Grady
His uncle an O'Shaughnessy, and his auntie was a Brady
The Wicklow hills are very high, so's the hill of Howth, sir
There's a hill much higher still, higher than them both, sir
On the top of that high hill St. Patrick preached a sermon
He drove the frogs into the bogs and he banished all the vermin

There's not a mile of Erin's Isle, where the dirty vermin musters
There he put his dear forefoot, and he murdered them in clusters
The toads went hop and the frogs went plop, slap-dash into the water
And the snakes committed suicide to save themselves from slaughter
Nine hundred thousand reptiles blue he charmed with sweet discourses
And he dined on them in Killaloe, on soups and second courses
Where blind worms crawling in the grass, disgusted all the nation
Right down to hell with a holy spell, he changed their situation

So success attend St. Patrick boys
For he's the saint so clever
He gave the snakes and the toads a twist
And he banished them forever

No wonder that them Irish lads should be so gay and frisky
Sure, St. Pat he taught them that, as well as making whiskey
No wonder that the saint himself should understand distillin'
His mother kept a shebeen shop, in the town of Enniskillen
Was I but so fortunate to be back down in Munster
I'd be bound that from that ground, I never more would once stir
There St. Pat he planted turf, cabbages, and praties
Pigs galore, mo gra, mo stor, altar boys and ladies


Back to 1st verse......... Patrick was a gentleman, etc.