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Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue
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The Wearing of the Green

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About This Song:

"The Wearing of the Green" is an anonymous Irish street ballad from the 1790's. It is not know who the original author was, but it was first published by Dion Boucicault, and is often attributed as his work, though he was born in 1882, 24 years after the song first appeared. The wearing of a shamrock in the hat (or "caubeen") was a sign of rebellion during the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the punishment for which was death by hanging.

O Paddy dear, an' did ye hear the news that's goin' round? 
The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground; 
St. Patrick's Day no more we'll keep, his colour can't be seen, 
For there's a cruel law agin the wearin' o' the Green. 

I met wid Napper Tandy1 and he took me by the hand, 
And he said, "How's poor ould Ireland, and how does she stand?" 
She's the most distressful country that ever yet was seen, 
For they're hangin' men an' women there for the wearin' o' the Green. 

Then since the colour we must wear is England's cruel red, 
Sure Ireland's sons will ne'er forget the blood that they have shed, 
You may take a shamrock from your hat and cast it on the sod, 
It will take root and flourish there though underfoot it's trod. 

When law can stop the blades of grass from growin' as they grow, 
And when the leaves in summer-time their colour dare not show, 
Then will I change the colour, too, I wear in my caubeen 
But 'till that day, please God, I'll stick to wearin' o' the Green.