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William Percy French

(1854 - 1920 / Elphin / Ireland)

William Percy French
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William Percy French was the son of a landlord and a clergyman's daughter. He studied engineering at Trinity College, where he spent a lot of time in song writing, dramatics, banjo playing and watercolour painting. After graduation he was on the verge of emigrating to Canada, but was appointed to a post in a government drainage scheme in Cavan. He was a self-styled 'Inspector of Drains' for seven years.

In 1891, his first wife, Ettie, died in childbirth, as did his baby daughter. he toured the country on his bicycle with a box of paints, painting and performing. He developed a one-man show, where he sang the songs he composed. At fifty, French moved to London and performed on ... more »

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  • ''''Tis all dependin' whether
    The ould engin' howlds together—'
    'And it might now, Michael, so it might!'''
    William Percy French (1854-1920). "Are Ye Right There, Michael?" (A Lay of the Wild West Clare) (l. 58-60). WTO. World Treasury of Oral Poetry, A....
  • ''Have ye got the parcel there for Mrs White?
    Ye haven't! Oh, begorra!
    Say it's comin' down tomorra—
    And it might now, Michael, so it might!'''
    William Percy French (1854-1920). "Are Ye Right There, Michael?" (A Lay of the Wild West Clare) (l. 27-30). . . World Treasury of Oral Poetry, A. ...
  • 'Are ye right there, Michael? are ye right?
    Do you think that we'll be there before the night?
    Ye've been so long in startin',
    That ye couldn't say for sartin'—
    Still ...
    William Percy French (1854-1920). "Are Ye Right There, Michael?" (A Lay of the Wild West Clare) (l. 11-15). . . World Treasury of Oral Poetry, A. ...
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