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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William Percy French Poems

Gortnamona

Long, long ago in the woods of Gortnamona,
I thought the birds were singing in the blackthorn tree;
But oh, it was my heart that was ringing, ringing, ringing,
With the joy that you were bringing, oh my love, to me... more »

The Mountains Of Mourne

Oh Mary this London's a wonderful sight
With people here workin' by day and by night
They don't sow potatoes, nor barley, nor wheat
But there's gangs of them diggin' for gold in the street... more »

To The West

The Midland Great Western is doing its best,
And the circular ticket is safe in my vest;
But I know that my holiday never begins... more »

William Percy French Quotes

Comments about William Percy French

john barrett 01 Aug 2019 06:32
it has come to my attention through one John [Twin] Mc Namara of Achill that Percy French wrote a Poem called 'the Island of my Dreams' in 1903
Monica McIntyre 27 May 2018 06:52
Would love the words of If I was a Lady
Taher Al-Shemaly 07 Jun 2009 05:35
A little is known about this man, and his pains.