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LAST WINTER WAS A HARD ONE

Last winter was a hard one, Missus Reilly, did you say?
'Tis well yourself that knows it, it is for many a day.
Your husband wasn't the only man sot behind a wall;
My old man McGuinness couldn't get a job at all

cho: Rise up, Missus Reilly, don't give away to blues
You and I will cut a shine, new bonnets and new shoes
Hear the young ones cry? Neither sign nor sob,
We'll wait till the times gets better and McGuinness gets a job

Bad luck to these Eye-talians, why don't they stay at home,
We've plenty of our own trash to eat up all our own;
Come like bees in the summertime, swarming here to stay,
Contractors hired them for forty cents a day.

To work upon the railroad, shovel snow and slush;
One thing in their favor, Eye-talians never get slushed
They always bring their money home, take no dinner wine
One thing I would like to say of your old man and mine!

Springtime is coming, work we'll surely get,
McGuinness'1l go back to his trade again, he makes a handsome clerk
See him climb a ladder as limber as a fox,
Says he's the boy can handle the old three-cornered box,

Additional verses:

The politicians promised him work on the boulevard
To handle a pick and shovel, and throw dirt on the cart.
Ah! Six months ago they promised him the work he'd surely get
But believe me, my good woman, they're promising him yet.

The boss is always bawling, "Hi there! Don't you stop.
Keep your eyes upward, don't let no mortar drop!"
Ah, the old man is always careful, nothing he lets fall
The divil a word you'd hear him say to my old man at all.

Final refrain:
Rise up, Missus Reilly, don't give away to blues,
You and I will cut a shine, new bonnets and new shoes
Hear the young ones cry? Neither sigh nor sob:
Times all got better, and McGuinness got a job.

From Folk Songs of the Catskills, Cazden Haufrecht and Studer
Collected from George Edwards

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