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John Renfro Davis
|The words and tune to this song were written by Percy French in 1889. It was written thirty years before there was a national Irish Army and was not meant as a political satire, but as a "purly comic song of great life and spirit."*
For other Percy French tunes at this site enter Percy French in the search engine or go to The Contemplator's Very Short Biography of Percy French.
You're heard of Julius Ceasar, and the great Napoleon too
And how the Cork Militia bate the Turks at Waterloo.
But there's a page of glory that as yet remains uncut,
And that's the warlike story of the Shlathery's Mounted Foot!
This gallant corps was organized by Shlathery's eldest son
A noble minded poacher with a double breasted gun
And many a head was opened aye, and many an eye was shut
While practisin' manoevres in the Shlathery's Mounted Fut
And down from the mountains came the squadrons and platoons
Four and twenty fightin' men an a couple a' stout gossoons.
An' whin we marched behind the dhrums to patriotic tunes
We felt that fame would gild the name of
Shlathery's Light Dragoons.
Well, first we reconnoithered round O'Sullivan's Shebeen
It used to be 'The Shop House', but we call it, 'The Canteen',
But there we saw a notice which the bravest heart unnerved
'All liquor must be settled for before the dhrink is served.'
So on we marched, but soon again each warrior's heart grew pale,
For risin' high in front o' us we saw the County Jail;
And when the army faced about, 'twas just in time to find
A couple o' stout policemin had surrounded us behind.
Still, from the mountains came the squadrons and platoons,
Four-an'-twinty fightin' min, an' a couple o' sthout gossoons;
Says Shlathery, 'We must circumvent these bludgeonin' bosthoons,
Or else it sames they'll take the names o'
Shlathery's Light Dragoons:
'We'll cross the ditch,' our leader cried, 'an' take the foe in flank.'
But yells of consthernation here arose from every rank,
For posted high upon a tree we very plainly saw, '
Threspassers prosecuted, in accordance wid' the law'.
'We're foiled!' exclaimed bould Shlathery, 'here ends
our grand campaign,
'Tis merely throwin' life away to face that mearin' drain,
I'm not as bold as lions, but I'm braver nor a hin,
An' he that fights and runs away will live to fight agin.'
An' back to the mountains went the squadrons and platoons,
Four-an'-twinty fightin' mm, an' a couple o' sthout gossoons;
The band was playing cautiously their patriotic tunes;
To sing the fame, if rather lame o'
Shlathery's Light Dragoons.'
|From *The Songs of Percy French
See Bibliography for full information.