William Percy French
Biography of William Percy French
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 stage until his death in 1920.
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If I should die tonight
"If I should die tonight
And you should come,
And stand beside me,
Lying cold and dumb,
And if while standing there,
You whispered low,
'Here's the ten pounds
You lent me years ago,'
I would arise, although they'd laid me flat,