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Thread #48782   Message #734318
Posted By: GUEST,Philippa
21-Jun-02 - 11:28 AM
Thread Name: DTStudy: Making Babies By Steam
Subject: DTStudy: Making Babies By Steam
This is an edited DTStudy thread, and all messages posted here are subject to editing and deletion.
This thread is intended to serve as a forum for corrections and annotations for the Digital Tradition song named in the title of this thread.

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You lovers of mirth, I pray pay attention
And listen to what I am going to relate,
Concerning a couple I overheard talking
As I was returning late home from a wake.
As I looked around I espied an old woman
Who sat by a gap all a-minding her cow.
She was jigging a tune called 'Come haste to the wedding'
Or some other ditty I can't recall now,
She was jigging a tune called 'An Buachaill_n Donn'
Or some other ditty I can't tell you now.

Then in looking around I espied a bold tinker
Who only by chance came a passing that way.
The weather being warm he sat down to rest,
"Oh what news, honest man?" the old woman did say.
"Oh, it's no news at all, ma'am," replied the bold tinker,
"But there's one and I wish he never had been,
It's that damnable rogue of a Daniel O'Connell,
He's now making children in Dublin by steam."

"Oh, children, aroo," replied the old woman.
"ainm an diabhal! [by the devil!], is he crazy at last?
Is there sign of a war or a sudden rebellion
Or what is the reason he wants them so fast?"
"Oh, it's not that at all, ma'am," replied the bold tinker,
"But the children of Ireland are getting so small,
It's her majesty's petition to the Lord High Lieutenant
To not let us make them the old way at all."

"By each hair on my head," replied the old woman,
"And that's the great oath of my soul, for to say,
I am an old woman but if I were nigh him,
It's little a word that O'Connell might say.
The people of Ireland, it's very well known,
We gave him our fortunes, though needing them bad,
And now he is well compensating us for it;
He's taking what little diversion we had!"

"I am an old woman that's going on eighty,
Scarcely a hair on my head to be seen,
But if the villain provokes me I'll make better children
Than ever he could produce with his steam!"
"Good luck to you, woman," replied the bold tinker
"Long may you live and have youth on your side.
For if all the young women of Ireland were like you
O'Connell might soon shove his engine one side"

"I think every woman who is in this country
Should be out making babies as fast as she can
So if ever her majesty calls for an army
We'll be able to send her as many as Dan"

[I usually talk the last four words]

The story that I heard was that the song derived from a speech in which
Daniel O'Connell said that the railways, the steam engine would be the making
of the Irish nation.

The song also reminds me of Jonathan Swift's satirical "A Modest Proposal"
that Irish babies be bred as food for the English.

Mick Maloney has been mentioned as a source. Johnny McEvoy also recorded the son
g, I'm fairly certain. I originally got the words from a book of songs collected
in Canada (Helen Creighton's book probably FNS

filename[ BABSTEAM
Tune file : HASTEWED


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The song is in the DT as Making Babies By Steam but I have had difficulties finding it under that title in searches. Just about all the background information you need is at the thread Daniel O'Connell and his Steam Engine but the DT page for the song doesn't link you to that thread.

I understand the tune given in the DT is going to be corrected. This song isn't sung to "Haste to the Wedding" but to "Larry O'Gaff".

I was surprised to see myself quoted in the DT ... the lyrics and quotation come from a message I sent to Ir-Trad L,message Item #53917 (18 Feb 1999 22:17) but the Ir-Trad L website isn't credited.

I wrote the song from memory. I had learned it first from a book of songs of Irish origin collected in Canada, and later heard it from Johnny McAvoy's recording and from session singers - all more or less the same version. I was mistaken in suggesting the book was by Helen Creighton. In fact, related messages at IrTrad-L give the tune and in one message John Moulden corrected me, saying the book was by Edith Fowke. So I would like the mention of Helen Creighton in the DT changed to Edith Fowke. "Traditional Singers and Songs from Ontario", Folklore Associates/Burns & MacEachern (1965),

I am happy enough with the words as I gave them, I don't feel it is necessary to take it down exactly as Edith Fowke did from her source OJ Abbot. Singers Mick Maloney, Paddy Reilly, Johnny McAvoy sing basically the same version and everyone will have just slightly different words.
Some, apparently leave out the extra line about the song called "An Buachaillín Donn", but I think putting in both lines -"She was jigging a tune called 'Haste to the Wedding' ... a tune called 'An Buachaillín Donn' " gives the song more verve. Unfortunately "Buachaillí" appears as "Buachaill_n" in the DT.

There is a different version also in the Daniel O'Connell and his Steam Engine thread. " I Crossed Over a Gap..." was collected in Cavan and published in Ríonach Uí Ógáin. "An Rí Gan Choróin - Dónall Ó Conaill sa Bhéaloideas" (The King Without a Crown - Daniel O'Connell in Folklore). Baile Átha Cliath [Dublin]; An Clóchomhar, 1984.
O J Abbot,Irish and British Songs from the Ottawa Valley", Folkways
Len Graham, on his first album - "Wind and Water"
Please do add details of Mick Maloney, Dubliners (Paddy Reilly), Johnny McAvoy albums and any others recordings you know of.