Alfred Perceval Graves.

Songs of Irish wit and humour online

. (page 4 of 9)
Online LibraryAlfred Perceval GravesSongs of Irish wit and humour → online text (page 4 of 9)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


I swear, though you say I'm a rover,

My heart is still faithful to you.
Then where is the use in your doubting,

Or breaking my heart with your sighs ;
Those sweet lips were not made for pouting,
And anger will spoil your mild eyes ?

The world, dear, is given to railing,

God forgive 'em that call me a rake ;
J Tis yourself that's the cause of my failing,

For I love the whole sex for your sake.
Sure, 'tis pride of you makes me a rover

To wake, and to dance, and to fair ;
I'm still trying at each to discover

A girl with yourself to compare,



THE RAKE'S APOLOGY. 113



And so, just in making the trial,

I'm forced still to touch and to taste ;
Though 'tis hard, there's no good in denial,

An hour from beside you to waste.
But their beauties leave no more impression,

Than calm waters take from the breeze ;
Sit down now, and hear my confession,

I'll make a clean breast at your knees.

Ellen Bawn has a fine neck and bosom,

But her waist feels so tightened and quare ;
Rose has bright eyes, but still I don't choose them,

When you gaze in them long they've a stare.
Mave looks shapely and plump 'tis all dressing ;

And Nora's lips please one at first ^
But then they won't do for much pressing,

They're so ripe you're afraid that they'll burst.

So now, all experiments over,

I come back more faithful and true ;
And I vow, on the word of a lover,

There's no girl half so perfect as you.
Then, Kathleen, cheer up, and believe me

I'll love you whatever betide ;
One word, and that fair hand just give me,

I'll wander no more from your side.

J. F. WALLER.
I



THE FIRST CUCKOO IN SPRING.

^NE sweet eve in spring, as the daylight died,
Mave sat in her bow'r by her father's side ;
(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) so soft and so clear,
Sang the bonny cuckoo from a thicket near :
(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) ' Do listen, my dear,
J Tis the first cuckoo's note I have heard this year.'

The maiden smiled archly, then sighed ' 'Tis long
I've waited and watched for that sweet bird's song ; '
(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) * Ere winter he'll roam
With some belov'd mate to his distant home.'
(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) * Ah, would I might roam
With that bonny cuckoo to his distant home.'

The old man he frowned at the maid, and said,

' What puts such wild thoughts in your foolish head ? '

(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) * No maid should desire

To roam from her native land and sire.'

(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) ' I don't love a note

That comes from that foreign bird's weary throat.



THE FIRST CUCKOO IN SPRING. 115

' The blackbird and throstle, I love their song,
They cheer us through summer and autumn long ; '
(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) ' And then they ne'er roam,
But they mate and they live all the year at home.'*
(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) ' 'Tis still the same note
That comes from that foreign bird's weary throat.'

The old man he sleeps in the drowsy air,
While soft from his side steals his daughter fair,
(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) There's a bird in the grove
That sings a sweet song all young maidens love.
(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) Says the bird from the grove,
' I'm weary cuckooing this hour, my love.'

The old man he dreams that the cuckoo sings
Close up to his ear very wondrous things :
(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) ' I love your dear Mave,
And won her young heart just without your leave.'
(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) l She is willing to roam
From her own beloved nest to my distant nome.

Half in fear, half in anger, her sire awakes,
As her lips on his brow a soft farewell takes.
(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) The old man is alone,
For vision, and cuckoo, and child are gone :
(Cuckoo ! cuckoo !) A sweet voice whispers near,
' We'll be back with the cuckoo in spring next year.'

.r 2




LOVE IN REALITY.

WAY with the nonsense of vain poetasters,
Their sighing and dying's all lying and fudge ;

They say love's a disease full of woes and

disasters :
I deny it, point-blank, and I think I'm a judge.



I boldly assert by my manhood, that no man
Is all that he should be who is not in love ;

And Providence, sure, sent us beautiful woman,
The joy, not the plague, of existence to prove.

For myself, I'm in love head and ears at the present,
With a maid like a young swan so graceful and fair,

And the symptoms I find, on the whole, very pleasant,
And just the reverse of what poets declare.

I shed not a tear, and I ne'er think of sighing ;

I moan not, I groan not, in fanciful woe ;
And if truth must be told, I am so far from dying

Of love but for love I'd have died long ago.



LOVE IN REALITY. 117

I keep up flesh and blood for the sake of this beauty;

I make it a point to be sound wind and limb ;
I eat well, I drink well, I sleep as a duty,

For then of my love all sweet things I can dream.

I can listen to music and still feel delighted ;

It shakes not my spirits to hear a sweet song ;
My pace is quite steady, not like one affrighted

Or a tree down a torrent swept swiftly along.

I've my voice at command, and my words are ne'er

wanting ;

And if half of the clothes in Conn's northern
" domain
Were heap'd on my back, with their heat I'd be

panting,
And fire is much hotter, I grant, than my skin.

If I stood 'neath a torrent, or plung'd in the ocean,
I'd come out rather chilly and not over dry ;

If robust health and strength can cause death, I've a

notion
I'm just in the very condition to die.

I'm not swollen out with grief till a long rope won't

bind me ;

My mouth is more moist than the touchwood, no
v doubt ;



n8 LOVE IN REALITY.

And I'll give you my oath, that you never will find me
Drinking dry a deep lake to extinguish my drought.

I can tell night and day without making a blunder :
A ship from a wherry, as well as the best ;

And I know white from black, which you'll say is a

wonder,
Despite all the love that is lodged in my breast.

A mountain I never mistake for the ocean,
A horse I can tell with great ease from a deer,

Of great things and small I've an excellent notion,
And distinguish a fly from a whale very clear.

And now, to conclude with a stifiish conundrum
A part of the stern of a boat o'er the wave,

Seven hazels whose barren twigs cast no fruit under

'em/
Is the name of the fair one who holds me a slave.

Not one in a thousand that try will make out of it
The name of the maid most belov'd of my heart ;

And though love touch my brain, yet the sense 'twon't

take out of it,
For I swear there's no poison or pain in his dart.

( Trans, from an early Celtic Poem by J. F. Waller. )



' WON'T YOU LEAVE US A LOCK OF
YOUR HAIRV



jj^ HE night is fresh and calm, love,
^ The birds are in their bowers,
And the holy light
Of the moon falls bright
On the beautiful sleeping flowers.
Sweet Nora, are you waking ?
Ah ! don't you hear me spakingt
My heart is well nigh breaking

For the love of you, Nora dear.
Ah ! why don't you speak, mavrone ?
Sure I think that you're made of stone,
Just like Venus of old,
All so white and so cold,
But no morsel of flesh and bone.



120 'LEAVE US A LOCK OF YOUR HAIR:



' There's not a soul astir, love,
No sound falls on the ear
But that rogue of a breeze
That's whispering the trees,
Till they tremble all through with fear.
Ah ! them happy flowers that's creeping
To your window where you're sleeping
Sure they're not chid for peeping

At your beauties, my Nora dear.
You've the heart of a Turk, by my sowl^
To leave me perched here like an owl ;
'Tis treatment too bad
For a true-hearted lad
To be sarved like a desolate fowl.



' You know the vow you made, love,
You know we fixed the day ;
And here I'm now
To claim that vow,
And carry my bride away.
So, Nora, don't be staying
For weeping or for praying
There's danger in delaying,

Sure maybe I'd change my mind :
For you know I'm a bit of a rake,
And a trifle might tempt me to break



' LEAVE US A LOCK OF YOUR HAIRS 121

Faix, but for your blue eye,
I've a notion to try
What a sort of old maid you'd make. 3

1 Ah ! Dermot, win me not, love,
To be your bride to-night :
How could I bear
A mother's tear,
A father's scorn and slight ?
So, Dermot, cease your suing - -
Don't work your Nora's ruin ;
'Twould be my sore undoing,

If you're found at my window, dear.'
' Ah ! for shame with your foolish alarms :
Just drop into your Dermot's arms :
Don't mind looking at all
For your cloak or your shawl ;
They were made but to smother your charms

And now a dark cloud rising,
Across the moon is cast ;
The lattice opes
And anxious hopes
Make Dermot's heart beat fast :
And soon a form entrancing,
With arms and fair neck glancing



122 'LEAVE US A LOGIC OF YOUR HAIRS

Half-shrinking, half-advancing,
Steps light on the lattice sill :
When a terrible arm in the air
Clutch'd the head of the lover all bare ;

And a voice, with a scoff,

Cried, as Dermot made off,

1 WON'T YOU LEAVE US A LOCK OF YOUR HAIR!'

J. F. WALLER.




DRINKING SONGS



GLEE AND CHORUS.

THIS bottle's the sun of our table,

His beams are rosy wine :
We, planets, that are not able

Without his help to shine.
Let mirth and glee abound !

You'll soon grow bright

With borrow'd light,
And shine as he goes round.

SHERIDAN.



THE CRUISKEEN LAWN.

ET the farmer praise his grounds,
Let the huntsman praise his hounds,

The farmer his sweet-scented lawn ;
While I, more blest than they,
Spend each happy night and day

With my smiling little cruiskeen lawn.
Gra-ma-chree ma cruiskeen
Slainte geal ma vourneen,
Gra-ma-chree a coolin bawn bawn bawn,
Gra-ma-chree a coolin bawn. 1

Immortal and divine
Great Bacchus, god of wine,

Create me by adoption your son.

1 My heart's love is my little jug,
Bright health to my darling,
My heart's love her fair locks.



126 THE CRUISKEEN LAWN.

In hope that you'll comply
That my glass shall ne'er run dry,
Nor my smiling little cruiskeen lawn.
Gra-ma-chree, &c.

And when grim Death appears.
After few but happy years,

And tells me my glass it is run ;
I'll say, * Begone, you slave !
For great Bacchus gives me leave

Just to fill another cruiskeen lawn.'
Gra-ma-chree, &c.

Then fill your glasses high,
Let's not part with lips adry,

Though the lark now proclaims it is dawn ;
And since we can't remain,
May we shortly meet again
To fill another cruiskeen lawn.
Gra-ma-chree, &c.

ANON.




THE MONKS OF THE SCREW.



HEN St. Patrick our order created

And called us the Monks of the Screw,
Good rules he revealed to our abbot,
To guide us in what we should do.



But first he replenished his fountain
With liquor the best in the sky ;

And he swore by the word of his saintship
That fountain should never run dry !

My children, be chaste till you're tempted ;

While sober, be wise and discreet ;
And humble your bodies with fasting

Whene'er you have nothing to eat.

Then be not a glass in the convent,

Except on a festival, found :
And, this rule to enforce, I ordain it

A festival all the year round !

JOHN PHILPOT CURRAN.



DRINK OF THIS CUP.



A POEM ON WHISKY PUNCH.



.RINK of this cup you'll find there's a spell in
Jl^x/ j{- s every drop 'gainst the ills of mortality
Talk of the cordial that sparkled for Helen,
Her cup was a fiction, but this is reality.
Would you forget the dark world we are in,

Only taste of the bubble that gleams on the top

of it ;
But would you rise above earth, till akin

To immortals themselves, you must drain every drop

of it.

Send round the cup for oh there's a spell in
Its every drop 'gainst the ills of mortality
Talk of the cordial that sparkled for Helen,
Her cup was a fiction, but this is reality.



DRINK OF THIS CUP. 129



Ne'er yet was philter fornrd with such power

To charm and bewilder as this we are quaffing ;
Its magic began when, in Autumn's rich hour,

As a harvest of gold in the fields it stood laughing.
There having by Nature's enchantment been fill'd

With the balm and the bloom of her kindliest weather,
This wonderful juice from its core was distill'd

To enliven such hearts as are here brought together !
Then drink of the cup you'll find there's a spell in, &c.

And though, perhaps but breathe it to no one

Like liquor the witch brews at midnight so awful,
This philter in secret was first taught to flow on,

Yet 'tis not less potent for being unlawful.
And e'en though it taste of the smoke of that flame,

Which in silent extracted its virtues forbidden
Fill up there's a fire in some hearts I could name,

Which may work, too, its charm, though as lawless

and hidden.
So drink of the cup for oh there's a spell in, &c.

MOORE.



WHISKY.




HISKY, drink divine !

Why should drivellers bore us
With the praise of wine,

Whilst we've thee before us ?
Were it not a shame,

Whilst we gaily fling thee
To our lips of flame,

If we could not sing thee ?
Whisky, drink divine !

Why should drivellers bore us
With the praise of wine,

Whilst we've thee before us ?

Greek and Roman sung

Chian and Falernian
Shall no harp be strung

To thy praise Hibernian ?



WHISKY. 131



Yes ! let Erin's sons

Generous, brave, and frisky
Tell the world at once

They owe it to their whisky.
Whisky, c.



If Anacreon who

Was the grape's best poet
Drank our Mountain-dew,

How his verse would show it !
As the best then known,

He to wine was civil ;
Had he Inishowen,

He'd pitch wine to the d 4 1.
Whisky, &c.



Bright as beauty's eye,

When no sorrow veils it ;
Sweet as beauty's sigh,

When young love inhales it ;
Come, then, to my lip

Come, thou rich in blisses !
Every drop I sip

Seems a shower of kisses.
Whisky, &c.

K 2



132 WHISKY.

Could my feeble lays

Half thy virtues number,
A whole grove of bays

Should my brows encumber.
Be his name adored,

Who summed up thy merits
In one little word,

When he called thee spirits,
Whisky, &c.



Send it gaily round

Life would be no pleasure,
If we had not found

T^his enchanting treasure ;
And when tyrant Death's
'Arrow shall transfix ye,
Let your latest breaths

Be, whisky ! whisky ! whisky !
Whisky ! drink divine !

Why should drivellers bore us
With the praise of wine,

Whilst we've thee before us ?

JOSEPH O'LEARY,



BARRY OF MACRO OM.
{ H, what is Dan MacCarty, or what is old Jem



Or all who e'er in punch -drinking by luck

have cut a dash,
Compared to that choice hero, whose praise my rhymes

perfume
I mean the boast of Erin's isle, bold Barry of Macroom ?

'T was on a summer's morning bright that Barry shone

most gay,
He had of friends a chosen few, to dine with him that

day;

And to himself he coolly said (joy did his eyes illume),
' I'll show my guests there's few can match bold Barry

of Macroom.'



134 BARRY OF MAC ROOM,



The dinner was despatched, and they brought in six
gallon jugs

Of whisky-punch ; and after them eight huge big-
bellied mugs ;

And soon all 'neath the table lay, swept clean as with
a broom,

Except the boast of Erin's isle, bold Barry of Mac-
room.



Now Barry rose, and proudly cried, ' By Judy, Til go

down,
And call into each whisky shop that decorates our

town ;
For lots of whisky-punch is here for master and for

groom,
If they'll come up and drink it with bold Barry of

Macroom.'



Thus Barry soon he brought with him a choice hard-
drinking set,

As ever at a punch-table on Patrick's Day had met ;

Yet soon upon the floor they lay, a low, disgraceful
doom,

While like a giant fresh and strong rose Barry of Mac-
room !



BARRY OF MACROOM. 135

Then Barry went unto his wife, and to his turtle said,
1 My dear, I now have had enough, therefore I'll go to

bed;

But as I may be thirsty soon, just mix it in the room
A gallon-jug of punch, quite weak, for Barry of Mac-
room.'

ANON.




ONE BOTTLE MORE.

j SSIST me, ye lads, who have hearts void of

guile,

To sing out the praises of ould Ireland's isle ;
Where true hospitality opens the door,
And friendship detains us for one bottle more.
One bottle more, arrah, one bottle more ;
And friendship detains us for one bottle more.

Old England, your taunts on our country forbear ;
With our bulls and our brogues we are true and

sincere ;

For if but one bottle remains in our store,
We have generous hearts to give that bottle more.
One bottle more, &c.

At Candy's in Church Street, I'll sing of a set
Of six Irish blades who together had met ;



ONE BOTTLE MORE. 137



Four bottles apiece made us call for our score,
For nothing remained but just one bottle more.
One bottle more, &c.

Our bill being brought we were loath to depart,
For friendship had grappled each man by the heart,
Where the least touch, you know, makes an Irishman

roar,

And the whack from shillelah brought six bottles more.
Six bottles more, &c.

Swift Phoebus now shone through our window so

bright,

Quite happy to view his glad children of light ;
So we parted with hearts neither sorry nor sore,
Resolving next night to drink twelve bottles more.
Twelve bottles more, &c.




AIR .< DON CAESAR:

, thou regal purple stream
Tinted by the solar beam,
In my goblet sparkling rise,

Cheer my heart and glad my eyes.

My brain ascend on fancy's wing,

'Noint me, wine, a jovial king.

While I live, I'll lave my clay :

When I'm dead and gone away,

Let my thirsty subjects say,

'A month he reign'd, but that was May. 7

JOHN O'KEEFE.



LUMPKIN'S SONG.



y\ ET schoolmasters puzzle their brain



. With grammar, and nonsense, and learning ;

Good liquor, I stoutly maintain,

Gives genus a better discerning.
Let them brag of their heathenish gods,

Their Lethes, their Styxes, and Stygians ;
Their Quis, and their Quaes, and their Quods,
They're all but a parcel of Pigeons.
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.

When Methodist preachers come down,
A-preaching that drinking is sinful,

I'll wager the rascals a crown,
They always preach best with a skinful.

But when you come down with your pence
For a slice of their scurvy religion,



140 TONY LUMPKIN^S SONG.



I'll leave it to all men of sense,

But you, my good friend, are the pigeon.
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.

Then come, put the jorum about,

And let us be merry and clever,
Our hearts and our liquors are stout,

Here's the Three Jolly Pigeons for ever.
Let some cry up woodcock or hare,

Your bustards, your ducks, and your widgeons ;
But of all the birds in the air,

Here's a health to the Three Jolly Pigeons.
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.

OLIVER GOLDSMITH.




SONGS OF FEASTING AND
FIGHTING



O'RORKE'S NOBLE FARE,

,'RORKE'S noble fare
Will ne'er be forgot,
By those who were there,
Or those who were not

His revels to keep,
We sup and we'dine

On seven score sheep,
Fat bullocks, and swine.

Usquebaugh to our feast
In pails is brought up,

An hundred at least,
And a mether our cup.

Tis there is the sport !

We rise with the light,
In disorderly sort,

From snoring all night.



144 O'RORKE'S NOBLE FARE.

Oh ! how I was tricked ;

My pipe it was broke,
My pocket was picked,

I losi; my new cloak.

1 I'm robbed/ exclaimed Nell,

' Of mantle and kercher.'
Why then fare them well,
The de'il take the searcher.

c Come, harper, strike up :

But first, by your favour,
Boy, give us a cup
Ah ! this has some flavour.'

O'Rorke's jolly boys

Ne'er dreamed of the matter,

Till roused by the noise
And musical clatter.

They bounce from their nest,

No longer will tarry ;
They rise ready dressed,

Without one * Hail Mary.'

They dance in around,

Cutting capers and romping :

'Tis a mercy the ground

Didn't burst with their stamping !



O^RORKE^S NOBLE FARE. 145

Bless you, late and early,

Laughing O'Henigan :
By my hand, you dance rarely,

Margery Grinigan.

Bring straw for our bed,

Shake it down to our feet,
Then over it spread

The winnowing sheet.

To show I don't flinch,

Fill the bowl up again,
Then give us a pinch

Of your sneezing a bhan.

Good Lord ! what a sight

After all their good cheer,
For people to fight

In the midst of their beer !

They rise from their feast,

So hot are their brains
A cubit at least

The length of their skiains.

What stabs and what cuts !

What clattering of sticks !
What strokes on the guts !

What basting and kicks !



146 O'RORK&S NOBLE FARE.

With cudgels of oak,

Well hardened in flame
A hundred heads broke

A hundred legs lame.

' You churl, I'll maintain
My father built Lusk,
The castle of Slane,
And Carrick Drumrusk.

< The Earl of Kildare,

And Moynalta his brother,
As great as they are,

I was nursed by their mother.

' Ask that of old madam,

She'll tell you who's who,
As far up as Adam :

She knows that 'tis true,'

( Translated from the Celtic by Dean Swift.



THE SPRIG OF SHILLELAH.

^ H ! love is the soul of a neat Irishman,
He loves all that is lovely, loves all that he can,
With his sprig of shillelah and shamrock so

green !

His heart is good-humoured, 'tis honest and sound,
No envy or malice is there to be found ;
He courts and he marries, he drinks and he fights,
For love, all for love, for in that he delights,
With his sprig of shillelah and shamrock so green !

Who has e'er had the luck to see Donnybrook Fair ?
An Irishman, all in his glory, is there,

With his sprig of shillelah and shamrock so green !
His clothes spick and span new, without e'er a speck,
A neat Barcelona tied round his neat neck ;
He goes to a tent, and he spends half-a-crown,
He meets with a friend, and for love knocks him down

With his sprig of shillelah and shamrock so green !

L 2



148 THE SPRIG OF SHILLELAH.

At evening returning, as homeward he goes,

His heart soft with whisky, his head soft with blows

From a sprig of shillelah and shamrock so green !
He meets with his Sheelah, who, blushing a smile,
Cries, ' Get ye gone, Pat,' yet consents all the while.
To the priest soon they go ; and nine months after

that
A fine baby cries, ' How do ye do, Father Pat,

With your sprig of shillelah and shamrock so green ? '

Bless the country, say I, that gave Patrick his birth !
Bless the land of the oak, and its neighbouring earth,
Where grow the shillelah and shamrock so green !
May the sons of the Thames, the Tweed, and 'the

Shannon,
Drub the French, who dare plant at our confines a

cannon !

United and happy, at loyalty's shrine,
May the rose and the thistle long flourish and twine
Round the sprig of shillelah and shamrock so
green !

EDWARD LYSAGHT.



LARRY McHALE.



i H, Larry McHale, he had little to fear,

And never could want, when the crops didn't

fail;

He'd a house and demesne, and eight hundred a year,
And a heart for to spend jt had Larry McHale.

The soul of a party, the life of a feast,

And an ilegant song he could sing I'll be bail ;

He would ride with the rector and drink with the

priest,
Oh, the broth of a boy was old Larry McHale !

It's little he cared for the judge or recorder,
His house was as big and as strong as a jail ;

With a cruel four-pounder he kept all in great order :
He'd murder the country, would Larry McHale.

He'd a blunderbuss, too, of horse-pistols a pair ;
But his favourite weapon was always a flail ;



150 LARRY McHALE.

I wish you could see how he'd empty a fair,
For he handled it nately did Larry McHale.

His ancestors were kings before Moses was born,
His mother descended from the great Granna Uaile ;

He laughed all the Blakes and the Frenches to scorn,
They were mushrooms compared to old Larry
McHale.

He sat down every day to a beautiful dinner,
With cousins and uncles enough for a tail ;

And, though loaded with debt, oh, the devil a thinner
Could law or the sheriff make Larry McHale !

With a larder supplied and a cellar well stored,

None lived half so well from Fair Head to Kinsale,

And he piously said, ' I've a plentiful board,

And the Lord He is good to old Larry McHale.'

So fill up your glass and a high bumper give him,
It's little we'd care for tithes or repale ;

Ould Erin would be a fine country to live in,
If we only had plenty like Larry McHale.

LEVER.




1 JOHNNY, I HARDL Y KNE H YE:

HILE going the road to sweet Athy,

Hurroo ! hurroo !
While going the road to sweet Athy,

Hurroo ! Hurroo !
While going the road to sweet Athy,
A stick in my hand and a drop in my eye,
A doleful damsel I heard cry,

1 Johnny, I hardly knew ye.
With your drums and guns, and guns and drums,

The enemy nearly slew ye,
Oh, darling dear, you look so queer,
Faith, Johnny, I hardly knew ye !



' Where are your eyes that looked so mild ?

Hurroo ! Hurroo !

Where are your eyes that looked so mild ?
Hurroo ! Hurroo !



152 'JOHNNY, I HARDLY KNEW YE:



Where are the eyes that looked so mild,


1 2 4 6 7 8 9

Online LibraryAlfred Perceval GravesSongs of Irish wit and humour → online text (page 4 of 9)