Percy French wrote a lovely song called “The Mountains of Mourne” in which he reflects on being an emigrant in London. He’s writing home to an old girlfriend and telling her what London is like. It was one of the first songs I ever learned or tried to sing. One verse of it came back to me during the week, as Ireland welcomed Queen Elizabeth 11 and President Obama to its shores ….
I’ve seen England’s king from the top of a bus
And I’ve never known him, but he means to know us.
And tho’ by the Saxon we once were oppressed,
Still I cheered, God forgive me, I cheered with the rest.
And now that he’s visited Erin’s green shore
We’ll be much better friends than we’ve been heretofore
When we’ve got all we want, we’re as quiet as can be
Where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea
There was a lot of cheering done last week during both visits. I have to confess the the thoughts of and talk about the Queen’s visit didn’t especially excite me but equally I must confess it went very well and I was very impressed and, truth told, glad she visited. She was amazing in her graciousnes and presence and I’m certain the visit can’t but have done a lot of good for both our countries. I didn’t see her, not even from the top of a bus, but I was happy it went so well. I think most of Ireland was. We’ve come a long way on this journey towards peace and understanding. We pray the journey continues …..
Here’s a version of the song, sung by Don McLean and though the verse above is not included, it’s a lovely rendition.