“Song of All Nations”


"I'll sing you a song of all nations." An Irishman's made of "his shamrock so green and a jug of poteen." Similar lines for Scotchman, Englishman, Frenchman, Jew, ..., old men, old ladies, ..., mammys and daddys.

Supplemental text

Song of All Nations
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Helen Creighton, Folksongs from Southern New Brunswick,
#69, pp. 171-172. Collected from Angelo Dornan, Elgin, N.B.

I'll sing you the song of all nations
Complete with a few reservations,
If some are left out you will find them no doubt
In a different classification.

Can you tell me what an Irishman's made out of,
Can you tell me what an Irishman's made out of?
His shamrock so green and a jug of poteen,
And that's what an Irishman's made out of.

What are the old ladies made out of?
Their bonnet and shawl and their youth to recall.

What are the big boys made out of?
Drink and fight and stay out all night.

What are big girls made out of?
Powder and paint and laced to a faint.

What are the little boys made out of?
Dirt and fun and eat on the run.

(Stanzas 1-2, 11-14 of 16)


The first part of this has rather the feeling of the educations songs one finds in Randolph and other sources ("States and Capitals," "The Presidents in Rhyme," things like that). But it doesn't really contain information, so this origin seems unlikely.

The second half, in which the song stops talking about various nationalities and turns to types of people (old men, old ladies, etc.) is similar in concept to "What Are Little Boys Made Of" and "What's Little Babies Made Of," but the actual "ingredients" are different enough that I think they qualify as separate songs. There may be a common inspiration somewhere in the distant past, to be sure. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 80, "Song of All Nations" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST CrSNB180 (Partial)
  3. Roud #2766
  4. BI, CrSNB180


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1960 (Creighton-SNewBrunswick)
Keywords: humorous nonballad
Found in: Canada(Mar)