(Dominic Behan; as performed by The Clancy Brothers)
("Liam's Patriot Game," PARODY BY SUSAN LOHR)

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Tune/lyrics source of Bob Dylan's "With God On Our Side."

LISTEN (Real Audio) at SONY/Columbia's Official Bob Dylan Site

Likely source: The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.
The DIGITAL TRADITION folksong database contains a more complete version (file name: PATGAME1) along with a parody by Susan Lohr entitled "Liam's Patriot Game."

Written by Dominic Behan following the death of 16-year-old Fergan O'Hanlon during an IRA attack on Dungannon barracks in 1957

According to Jim McLean there was one song that [Nigel] Denver [Scottish folksinger] sang, Dominic Behan's "The Patriot Game", which Dylan took a particular interest in. He asked McLean about the song and within three months had adapted the tune and indeed the theme of the song. It became Dylan's most brilliant debunking of the God and Country ethos, "With God On Our Side."
[Dylan asked me], "What does it mean, Patriot Game?...
I explained -- probably lectured him -- about Dr Johnson, who's one of Dominic [Behan]'s favourite writers, and that's where Dominic picked up [the] saying: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." I explained the song to Dylan at the time.

Clinton Heylin, Dylan: Behind the Shades, London, 1991, p. 62 (Penguin paperback edition).

Transcribed from "In Person at Carnegie Hall" by Manfred Helfert.
Additional or alternate verses (in italics) from Frederick Hetman (ed.), Irische Lieder und Balladen, Frankfurt, 1984.

Come all you young rebels, and list while I sing,
For the love of one's country is a terrible thing.
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame,
And it makes us all part of the patriot game.

My name is O'Hanlon, and I'm just gone sixteen.
My home is in Monaghan, where I was weaned.
I learned all my life cruel England to blame,
And so I'm a part of the patriot game.

It's barely two years since I wandered away
With the local battalion of the bold IRA,
I'd read of our heroes, and I wanted the same
To play out my part in the patriot game.

They told me how Connolly was shot in a chair,
His wounds from the battle all bleeding and bare,
His fine body twisted, all battered and lame,
They soon made him part of the patriot game.

I joined a batallion from dear Bally Bay
And gave up my boyhood so happy and gay.
For now as a soldier I'd drill and I'd train
To play my full part in the patriot game.

This island of ours has for long been half free.
Six counties are under John Bull's tyranny.
So I gave up my Bible, to drill and to train
To play my own part in the patriot game.

This Ireland of mine has for long been half free,
Six counties are under John Bull's tyranny.
And still De Valera is greatly to blame
For shirking his part in the patriot game.

I don't mind a bit if I shoot down police,
They're lackeys for war, never guardians of peace,
But yet as deserters I'm never let aim
Those rebels who sold out the patriot game.

And now as I lie here, my body all holes
I think of those traitors who bargained and sold.
I wish that my rifle had given the same
To those quislings who sold out the patriot game.


Come all ye young rebels, and list while I sing;
Behold Liam Clancy -- what a terrible thing!
His voice it is fading, his guitar hand is lame,
With his passion for singing "The Patriot Game."

He showed us great promise at the age of nineteen;
Such a talented young man has rarely been seen.
But the theater's abandoned, he's not been the same,
Since somebody taught him "The Patriot Game."

Alone on the stage, in the bright spotlights' glow,
He seems to be puzzled but audiences know
The tune that's forthcoming -- it's always the same:
"He's going to give us 'The Patriot Game'!"

The policemen of Ulster are savage and cruel;
One Paddy for breakfast has long been the rule.
Perhaps they will catch him, perhaps they can tame
His passion for singing "The Patriot Game."

He sought out the old songs in valley and glen;
It seems that he never will do it again.
Years hence on his tombstone we'll carve but his name,
And the words, "Died of singing 'The Patriot Game'."

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