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Short poem

Alfred Perceval Graves (1846-1931)

Father O'Flynn

              1Of priests we can offer a charmin' variety,
              2Far renowned for larnin' and piety;
              3Still, I'd advance you, widout impropriety,
              4    Father O'Flynn as the flower of them all.


              5Here's a health to you, Father O'Flynn,
              6Slainté, and slainté, and slainté agin;
              7        Powerfullest preacher, and
              8        Tinderest teacher, and
              9    Kindliest creature in ould Donegal.

            10Don't talk of your Provost and Fellows of Trinity,
            11Famous for ever at Greek and Latinity,
            12Dad and the divels and all at Divinity,
            13    Father O'Flynn 'd make hares of them all.
            14Come, I vinture to give you my word,
            15Never the likes of his logic was heard,
            16        Down from Mythology
            17        Into Thayology,
            18    Troth! and Conchology, if he'd the call.


            19Here's a health to you, Father O'Flynn,
            20Slainté and slainté, and slainté agin;
            21        Powerfullest preacher, and
            22        Tinderest teacher, and
            23    Kindliest creature in ould Donegal.

            24Och! Father O'Flynn, you've the wonderful way wid you,
            25All the ould sinners are wishful to pray wid you,
            26All the young childer are wild for to play wid you,
            27    You've such a way wid you, Father avick!
            28Still, for all you've so gentle a soul,
            29Gad, you've your flock in the grandest conthroul;
            30        Checking the crazy ones,
            31        Coaxin' onaisy ones,
            32    Liftin' the lazy ones on wid the stick.


            33Here's a health to you, Father O'Flynn,
            34Slainté, and slainté, and slainté agin;
            35        Powerfullest preacher, and
            36        Tinderest teacher, and
            37    Kindliest creature in ould Donegal.

            38And though quite avoidin' all foolish frivolity,
            39Still at all seasons of innocent jollity,
            40Where was the play-boy could claim an equality
            41    At comicality Father, wid you?
            42Once the Bishop looked grave at your jest,
            43Till this remark set him off wid the rest:
            44        "Is it lave gaiety
            45        All to the laity?
            46    Cannot the clargy be Irishmen too?"


            47Here's a health to you, Father O'Flynn,
            48Slainté, and slainté, and slainté agin;
            49        Powerfullest preacher, and
            50        Tinderest teacher, and
            51    Kindliest creature in ould Donegal.


2] larnin’: learning.

4] Father Michael Walsh (d. 1866), parish priest at Sneem, County Kerry, until his death. For his music, see George Petries, Complete Collection of Irish Music, ed. Charles Villiers Stanford (1903).

6] Gaelic toast for “good health!”

8] Tinderest: tenderest.

9] ould: old. Donegal: county in Eire.

17] Thayology: theology.

18] Conchology: the study of shells and shell-fish.

24] wid: with.

31] onaisy: uneasy.

44] lave: leave.

Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Irish Poems of Alfred Perceval Graves: Countryside Songs, Songs and Ballads (Dublin: Maunsel, 1908): 3-5. del G735 A155 1918 v. 2 Fisher Rare Book Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/5/19*1:2004/5/19

Other poems by Alfred Perceval Graves