The Wearing of the Green – Historical Context:
“The Wearing of the Green” is a traditional Irish folksong that dates back to the Irish Rebellion of 1798, when the Irish rose up against the British. At that time, wearing green clothing or shamrocks was considered a rebellious act in and of itself, potentially even punishable by death.
“The Wearing of the Green” Lyrics:
Music from the Orthodox Celts
Oh. Paddy dear and did you hear the news that’s goin’ round?
The shamrock is by law forbid to grow on Irish ground.
St. Patrick’s Day no more will keep his colour can’t be seen
For they hangin’ men and women for the wearing of the green.
I met with Napper tandy and he took me by the hand.
He said : “How’s dear old Ireland and how does she stand?”
She’s the most distressful country that you have ever seen
For they’re hanging men and women for the wearing of the green.
For the wearing of the green, for the wearing of the green
They’re hanging men and women for the wearing of the green.
And if the colour we must wear is england’s cruel red,
Shure Ireland sons will ne’er forget the blood that they have shed.
You may take the shamrock from your hat and cast it down the sod,
‘Twill take all root and flourish there, tho’ under foot ’tis trod.
My father loved his country and sweeped from in ‘is breast,
But I had one they died for her must never soul be blessed.
Most tears me mother shad for me, how’d bitter they had been,
But I had proved the traitor for the wearing of the green.
And if at last our coloured shirt be thorn from Ireland’s heart,
Her sons would shame and sorrow for the dear old my wound heart.
I hear the whisper of the land that lies me on the sea,
Where rich and poor stand equal in the light of freedom’s day.
Oh, Ireland, must believe you driven high from tyrant’s hand,
And see come mother’s blessing from the strange and distant land,
Where the cruel cross of England shall never more be seen,
And in that land we live and die still wearing Ireland’s green.