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Lyr Add: The Frolicksome Irishman

Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Dec 05 - 12:17 AM
David Ingerson 06 Dec 05 - 03:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Dec 05 - 03:51 PM
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From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Dec 05 - 12:17 AM

(The Frolicsome Irishman)

About nine months ago I was digging the land,
With my clogs on my feet and my spade in my hand,
Thought I to myself it's a pity to see
Such a genius as I digging land by the way.

Sing tu di ah, etc.

I pull'd off my clogs shook hands with my spade,
And away to the fair like a roving young blade,
I met with a sergeant, he asked me to list,
With my great gramachree give me your fist,

He'd give me two guineas because he'd no more,
If I'd go to his quarters he'd give me a score
No quarters, no quarters O sergeant says I
so I took hold of my shillelah and bid him good bye,

So early next morning to drill I was sent,
By my soul but my heart it began to relent
O sergeant, o sergeant pray let me alone,
For I have both arms and legs of my own.

Our general review'd us and gave us great thanks,
He ordered to march into the ranks,
With my right and left wheel with my face to the tree.
Oh the devil may take all the wheeling for me.

At Vinegar Hill we have very good luck
With my clogs full of stones in a battle of muck
The smoke was so thick and the battle so hot.
But I care not for fear of being shot.

Success to old England let Ireland remain
Since I have got home to dig murphys again
Success to old England and God save the king,
If the wars were all over I would go again.

Bodleian Library, Firth c.14(116), J. Pitts, London, c. 1802-1819.
Six copies at the Bodleian, but all identical. Refrain not completed.

One of several songs about an Irishman being pressed into the navy or taking the shilling and serving on land. In some songs, he comes home to his digging unscathed; in others he is wounded and loses a leg or it is implied he remains in the service. They seem to be English in origin for the most part, looking humorously at the recruit. See "The Kerry Recruit" and "Paddy O'Neil."
This appears to be the earliest; analysis of the printers of other broadsheets suggest that the similar songs were printed after 1840 (articles at Mustrad by R. Brown).

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From: David Ingerson
Date: 06 Dec 05 - 03:30 PM

Thanks, Q, for that interesting song. So many different ways to view being in the British army.

It seems there might be a line missing in the 6th verse, something to rhyme with "hot". And I couldn't get the link to work to check on it myself.

I wonder how it got that title?


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From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Dec 05 - 03:51 PM

Yes, line 4 missing. Sorry!

'But I care not for fear of being shot.'

The link should take you to Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads. Click on Browse/Search in the left column. Then, under Search, type in Frolicksome Irishman.
(Type in only Frolicksome and a few other interesting songs come up as well.)
    Missing line added.
    -Joe Offer-

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Mudcat time: 17 July 9:47 PM EDT

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