The Patriot Game lyrics

by The Wolfe Tones

Come all you young rebels and list while I sing
For the love of one's country is a terrible thing
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame
And it makes us all part of the Patriot Game

My name is O'Hanlon, and I've just gone sixteen
My home is in Monaghan, and where I was weaned
I've learned all my life cruel England to blame
And so I'm a part of the Patriot Game

It's barely two years since I wandered away
With the local battalion of the bold I.R.A.
I 've read of our heroes and I wanted the same
Just to play my own part in the Patriot Game

This island of ours has for long been half free
Six counties are under John Bull's tyranny
So I gave up my boy-hood to drill and to train
And to play my own part in the Patriot Game

And now as I lie here my body all holes
I think of all traitors who bargained and sold
And I wish that my rifle had given the same
To those quislings who sold out the Patriot Game

So come all you young rebels and list' while I sing
For the love of one's country is a terrible thing
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame
And it makes us all part of the Patriot Game

Song Details

The Wolfe Tones
The Wolfe Tones

Music: from a traditional Irish folk tune - The Merry Month of May

Words: Dominic Behan (younger brother of playwright Brendan Behan)

Brief: It relates the story of Fergal O'Hanlon, a young IRA volunteer who was killed at the young age of 20 during an attack on the Brookeborough Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks in County Fermanagh on 1st January 1957. The setting of the song took place during the Border Camapign launched by the IRA in the 1950's. The aim of the campaign was to reunify Northern Ireland with The Republic of Ireland... more

References:
list - archaic word for 'listen'
ye - archaic word for 'you'
Monaghan - a county of NE Republic of Ireland - Ulster province
I.R.A - Acronym for the Irish Republican Army which has existed in various forms since 1916
Connolly - James Connolly - an Irish republican and socialist leader executed by a British firing squad because of his leadership role in the Easter Rising of 1916.
John Bull - national personification of England
De Valera - American-born Irish political leader who fought in the 1916 Easter Rebellion and was president of Sinn Fein (1918-1926) before becoming three-time prime minister of the Irish Free State and president of the Republic of Ireland (1959-1973).
quisling - traitor - a person who betrays his or her country by aiding an invading enemy
Royal Ulster Constabulary - police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 2001

Category: Irish Rebel Song

Recording Artists with Celtic Origins: The Wolfe Tones (featured), The Dubliners, The Clancey Brothers, The Kingston Trio, The Blubells, Judy Collins...

Logo Patriot Game by The Wolfe Tones is featured on the album The Anthology of Irish Song (released 26th July, 2013).

The Patriot Game - Original Lyrics by Dominic Behan

Dominic Behan

Come all ye young rebels and list while I sing
The love of one's land is a terrible thing
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame
And it makes us all part of the Patriot Game

My name is O'Hanlon, I'm just gone sixteen
My home is in Monaghan, and there I was weaned
I was taught all my life cruel England to blame
And so I'm a part of the Patriot Game

It's barely a year since I wandered away
With the local battalion of the bold I.R.A.
I had read of our heroes and I wanted the same
To play out my part in the Patriot Game

They told me how Connolly was shot in a chair
His wounds from the fighting all bleeding and bare
His fine body twisted, all battered and lame
They soon made me part of the Patriot Game

I don't mind a bit if I shoot down police
They're lackeys for war - never guardians of peace 
But yet at deserters I never let aim
Those cowards who sold out the Patriot Game

This island of mine has for long been half free
Six counties are under John Bull's monarchy
And yet De Valera is greatly to blame
For shirking his part in the Patriot Game

And now as I lie with my body all holes
I think of the traitors who bargained and sold
I'm sorry my rifle has not done the same
For the cowards who sold out the Patriot Game

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