The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #44753   Message #3019267
Posted By: Jim Dixon
30-Oct-10 - 10:53 AM
Thread Name: Origin: Kerry Recruit (nonsense chorus)
Here's the oldest version I can find with Google Books. Note that it does not have a nonsense refrain.

From Songs of Irish Wit and Humour by Alfred Perceval Graves (London: Chatto & Windus, 1884), page 161:


1. Just nine years ago and me diggin' some land,
Two brogues on my feet and a spade in my hand,
Says I to myself, "'Tis a pity to see
Such a dashing young blade diggin' turf in Tralee."

CHORUS; Wid my brogues so well greased and
My face 'twas so dirty.

2. So I butthered my brogues and shook hands wid my spade,
And I off to the fair, like a dashing young blade;
I there met a sergeant, who axed me to list.
"Arrah, sergeant," says I, "will ye tip me the fist."

3. He gave me a shillin', he said he'd no more;
When I'd get to Head Quarters I'd get half a score.
"Head Quarters," says I, "arrah, sergeant, good-bye;
I'm not going to be quartered—I'm in dread I might die."

4. "Arrah, Paddy, be aisy, why can't you abide;
Head Quarters is the place where we all do reside."
I soon found his meaning and went wid good grace
To take up my quarters in that royal place.

5. Then up comes the Captain, a man of great fame,
He axed me my county, I told him my name;
Then up wid my story and told him agin
That my father and mother were two Kerry men.

6. Then up comes the Colonel to give me his thanks,
He bade me take arms and fall into the ranks.
"Arrah, Colonel, achree, won't you lave me alone,
Don't you see that I've arms and legs of my own?"

7. The first thing they gave me it was a red coat,
Wid a great strap of leather to tie up my throat;
They gave me a quare thing, I axed 'em "What's that?"
And they told me it was a cockade for my hat.

8. The next thing they gave me it was a great gun,
Wid powder and trigger and on her my thumb;
An' first she spit fire and then she spit smoke,
Wid a noise then like thunder my shoulder she broke.

9. The first place they sent me was ever so far
In a quare thing they said was the King's Man o' War;
Three sticks in the middle, and on her a sheet,
And she walked on the water widout any feet.

10. We fought many battles wid pretty good luck
At Vinegar Hill and at Ballinamuck,
The balls and the powder they all were so hot
I sneaked round behind them in dread of bein' shot.

11. Now war is all over and peace is come in,
I'm paid all my wages, and God save the King!
I'm nine years in glory, and glad it's not ten,
And now I am back diggin' praties agin.

CHORUS: Wid my brogues so well greased and
My face just as dirty.