Oh Paddy dear and did you hear..."
These lines are taken from the anonymously written Irish street ballad, "The Wearing of the Green". The context of the song is the repression around the time of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, when the wearing of revolutionary insignia was punishable by hanging.
("The Wearing of the Green" performed by John McCormack)
Oh, Paddy dear, and did you hear
The news that's going round?
The shamrock is forbid by law
To grow on Irish ground!
St. Patrick's Day no more we'll keep,
His color can't be seen,
For there's a bloomin' law agin'
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;
They're hanging men and women there
For wearing of the green."
Then since the color we must wear
Is England's cruel red,
Sure Ireland's songs will ne'er forget
The blood that they have shed.
You may take the shamrock from your hat now,
Cast it on the sod,
But 'twill take root and flourish still,
Tho' under foot it's trod.
When the law can stop the blades of green
From growing as they grow,
And when the leaves in summertime
Their verdue dare not show,
Then I will change the color that I
Wear in my canteen;
But 'till that day, please God, I'll stick
To wearing of the green.