I LOVED A PAPISH GIRL

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I was born and bred in Sandy Row a loyal orange Prod.
A follower of King William that noble man of God,
My motto no surrender my fleg the Union Jack
And every year I’d proudly walk to Finaghy and back.
A loyal son of Ulster a true blue that was me
Prepared to fight prepared to die for faith and liberty.
As well as that a Linfield man far back as I can mind
I had no time for Catholics or people of that kind.


But then one night in Bangor I met wee Rosie Brown,
From the moment I set eyes on her my heart went up and down
And when I thought she fancied me my heart was all a buzz
I clean forgot to ask her what her religion was.
I never slept a wink that night I just laid there in bed,
I thought about wee Rosie and all the things we’d said
I know I should have asked before I made a date
Before I fell in love with her but by then it was too late


When next we met I told her “I’m a Prod and staunch and true”
She said “I’m a Catholic and I’m just as staunch as you.“
The words were harsh and bitter then suddenly like this
The centuries of hatred were forgotten in one kiss.
That night I dreamt about her a strange confusing dream
I dreamt we both were singing “ The Wearin of the Green”
And as we walked to Finaghy full of harmony and hope
Who was there to greet us but his Holiness the Pope.


When I awoke I new that dream was even more than true
The future we were heading for would be confusing too.
Indeed when I thought about it, it was all to clear
That was to be the understatement of the year.
I knew our love could bring us little but trouble and distress
But nothing in this world could make me love my Rosie less.
I saved a bit of money as quickly as I could
I asked her if she’d marry me and by God she said she would.

 
Then the trouble really started her folks were flaming mad
And when mine heard about it sure they were twice as bad,
Her father said that from that day he’d hang his head in shame
And by a strange coincidence my oul  lad said the same.
My mother cried her eyes out and said I’d rue the day
I’d let a Papish hussy steal my royal heart away.
And Rose’s mother said when she’d recovered from the blow
She’d rather see the Divil than a man from Sandy Row.

 
In deference to Rosie we were married in her church
But my clergyman was there as well; he didn’t leave me in the lurch.
The Priest was awfully nice to me he made me feel at home
I think he pitied both of us for our families wouldn’t come.
The house we went to live in had nothing but four walls,
It was far away from Sandy Row and farther from the Falls.
And that’s the way we wanted it for both of us new well
That back among the ones we knew our lives would just be hell.

 
But life out there for Rosie was lonely I knew well
And of course we had our wee religious differences too,
When Friday came along and Rosie gave me fish
I looked at it and then at her and said ”That’s not my dish.”
I mind well what she answered though she never said it twice
“To ate no meat on Friday is a poor wee sacrifice
To make for Christ who died one Friday long ago.”
But anyway I ate the fish and it wasn’t bad you know.

 
Then Sunday came and I lay on and she got up for Mass.
Then Rosie turned to me and said “ Will you shift your lazy ass
You’ve got a Church to go to and that’s where you should be
So up you get this minute you’ll go part of the road with me.”
We left the house together but we parted down the line,
She went off to her Church and I went off to mine
But all through out the service although we were apart
I felt I was worshiping with Rosie in my heart.

  
The weeks and months went quickly by and then there comes the day
That Rosie up and tells me that a child is on the way.
Then from that day my life becomes a wondrous thing
Like a lovely flower unfolding its petals in the spring.
We wrote and told our families for they never came to call
And we thought this news would heal the breach and so it did an all.
My Mother and then Rosies come to visit us in turn
And I marveled at the power of a wee child yet unborn.

 
Och but I was awful disillusioned when I found out why they came
It wasn’t just to heal the breach or make it up again,
Rosie’s Mother had come to say the child would be RC
And mine had come to say it would be a Protestant like me.
The rows before the wedding were surely meek and mild
Compared to all the rumpus that was ris about the child,
From both sides of the family insults and threats were hurled
O what a desperate way to welcome a wee angel to this world.

 
The child must be a Catholic no the child must be a Prod,
But the last and powerful voice I heard was the mighty voice of God
When to is awful wisdom I had to hang my head
When Rosies time had come at last the child was born but dead.
That night I sat by Rosies bed and just before the dawn
I kissed her as she left me to join our angel son.
This orange heart was broken within these four bare walls
Where the hells the Shankill and where the hells the Falls.

 
In all the years that’s past since then years of grief and pain
I’d give my life and even more just to see her face again.
But the loneliness is near over now I’ll see her soon I know
For the Doctor told me yesterday that I haven’t long to go.
And when I go up yonder they’ll let me in I hope
And when the ask me who I’m for King Billy or the Pope,
I’m going to take no chances I’ll answer loud and clear
I’m just a loyal Protestant who loved, a Papish girl.


But one way or another I think they’ll let me through
And Rosie will be waiting there, and our wee angel too
Then a little child will lead them the Papisher and the Prod
Up the golden steps of Heaven into the house of God.
           

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