Alfred Perceval Graves (1846-1931)
The Kilkenny Cats
1 In the dacent ould days
2 Before stockings or stays
3Were invented, or breeches, top-boots and top-hats,
4 You'd search the whole sphere
5 From Cape Horn to Cape Clear
6And never come near to the likes of our Cats
7 Och, tunder! och, tunder!
8 You'd wink wid the wonder
9To see them keep under the mice and the rats;
10 And go wild for half shares
11 In the phisants and hares
12They pull'd up the backstairs to provision our Pats
13Och! the Cats of Kilkenny, Kilkenny's wild Cats!
14 But the shame and the sin
15 Of the Game Laws came in,
16Wid the gun and the gin of the landlord canats;
17 And the whole box and dice
18 Of the rats and the mice
19Made off in a trice from our famishing Cats.
20 What did the bastes do?
21 What would I or you?
22Is it lie down and mew till we starved on our mats?
23 Not at all, faix! but fall
24 Small and great, great and small,
25Wid one grand caterwaul on each other's cravats.
26Och! the Cats of Kilkenny, Kilkenny's wild Cats!
27 And that mortial night long
28 We should hark, right or wrong,
29To the feast and the song of them cannibal Cats,
31 Till the dawn of the day
32In fifty-three sharps, semiquavers and flats;
33 And when we went round
34 Wid the milk-carts we found
35Scattered over the ground, like a sprinkle of sprats –
36 (All the rest, bit and sup,
37 Of themselves they'd ate up)
38Only just the tip-ends of the tails of the Cats,
39Of the Cats of Kilkenny, Kilkenny's quare Cats!
1] dacent: decent.
12] Pats: nickname for Irishmen.
20] bastes: beasts.
23] faix: fegs! (exclamation).
25] cravats: neck-ties.
30] Gladiath'rin: making out like gladiators.
35] sprats: little sea-fish.
39] quare: queer.
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 2nd edn. (1908): 57-58. del G735 A155 1918 v. 2 Fisher Rare Book Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/5/19
Other poems by Alfred Perceval Graves