Poems » j. e. ball » the kilkenny cats


    In the dacent ould days
    Before stockings or stays
Were invented, or breeches, top-boots and top-hats,
    You'd search the whole sphere
    From Cape Horn to Cape Clear
And never come near to the likes of our Cats
    Och, tunder! och, tunder!
    You'd wink wid the wonder
To see them keep under the mice and the rats;
    And go wild for half shares
    In the phisants and hares
They pull'd up the backstairs to provision our Pats
Och! the Cats of Kilkenny, Kilkenny's wild Cats!

    But the shame and the sin
    Of the Game Laws came in,
Wid the gun and the gin of the landlord canats;
    And the whole box and dice
    Of the rats and the mice
Made off in a trice from our famishing Cats.
    What did the bastes do?
    What would I or you?
Is it lie down and mew till we starved on our mats?
    Not at all, faix! but fall
    Small and great, great and small,
Wid one grand caterwaul on each other's cravats.
Och! the Cats of Kilkenny, Kilkenny's wild Cats!

    And that mortial night long
    We should hark, right or wrong,
To the feast and the song of them cannibal Cats,
    Gladiath'rin away
    Till the dawn of the day
In fifty-three sharps, semiquavers and flats;
    And when we went round
    Wid the milk-carts we found
Scattered over the ground, like a sprinkle of sprats –
    (All the rest, bit and sup,
    Of themselves they'd ate up)
Only just the tip-ends of the tails of the Cats,
Of the Cats of Kilkenny, Kilkenny's quare Cats!