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Good Saint Patrick

Good Saint Patrick

Who in this wide world has not heard of Saint Patrick? And who is not Irish on the good saint’s feast day of March 17th?

The good natured welcome in this season is so typical of Irish hospitality. And the irony of a day of excesses in the name of a humble and austere man of faith; born Patricius and immortalized as Saint Patrick. Henry D Spalding, the author of a number of books on humor and folklore, wrote: The treatment of sacred objects by Irish wits differs from that of most Catholic countries. Saint Patrick is hardly regarded as a conventional saint by Irish humorists… Only those who are in the closest intimacy with objects venture to treat them familiarly, and the Irish find it easy to joke, without disrespect, of that which is dearest to them. However, only an Irish-American could ever have conceived the ideas of Saint Patrick as an editor of Prayboy magazine.

The Pulitzer prize-winning poet, Phyllis McGinley, gave us a narrative that conveys the high points of Patrick’s legacy summed up in his “gift of gab.”

 

PATRICK the MISSIONER

Saint Patrick was a preacher

With honey in his throat.

They say that he could charm away

The miser’s dearest pence;

Could coax a feathered creature

To leave her nesting note

And fly from many a farm away

To drink his eloquence.

 

No Irishman was Patrick

According to the story.

The speech of Britain clung to him

(Or maybe it was Wales).

But ah, for curving rhet’ric,

Angelic oratory,

What man could match a tongue to him

Among the clashing Gaels!

 

Let Patrick meet a Pagan

In Antrim or Wicklow,

He’d talk to him so reachingly,

So vehement would pray,

That Cul or Neall or Reagan

Would fling aside his bow

And beg the saint beseechingly

To christen him that day.

 

He won the Necromancers,

The bards, the country herds.

Chief Aengus rose and went with him

To bear his staff and bowl.

For such were all his answers

To disputatious words,

Who’d parry argument with him

Would end a shriven soul.

 

The angry Druids muttered

A curse upon his prayers.

They sought a spell for shattering

The marvels he had done.

But Patrick merely uttered

A better spell than theirs

And sent the Druids scattering

Like mist before the sun.

 

They vanished like the haze on

The plume of the fountain.

But still their scaly votaries

Were venomous at hand.

So three nights and days on

Tara’s stony mountain

He thundered till those coteries

Of serpents fled the land.

 

Grown old but little meeker

At length he took his rest.

And centuries have listened, dumb,

To tales of his renown.

For Ireland loves a speaker,

So loves Saint Patrick best:

The only man in Christendom

Has talked the Irish down.

We hope you’ll join us at The Celtic Ranch for a little celebration, and that’s no blarney! From Celtic crosses to pub socks, flashing shamrocks and leprechauns, we’ve got you covered. Every color is green and everyone is Irish this week in Weston. Remember -- "The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself."

 

Lori McAlister,

Wrangler of Cultural Affairs

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