Paddy Backwards (MacEdward Leach)

As I was a-driving down Market town fair,
A-riding on horseback a bonny grey mare,
Short tail and a white mane and a hump on her back,
And not a hair on her but that wasn't jet black.

My horse standing still threw me off in the dirt,
He dirtied my body and bruised all my shirt;
And into my saddle my stirrups so gay,
And on my ten toes I went jogging away.

It rained and it blowed and I stood in the storm,
My hat in my hand to keep my head warm;
I took a glass of strong grape juice
to drive gladness away,
To stiffen the dirt for it rained the whole day.

As I was a-driving up fair James' park,
In the middle of noon one night it was dark;
I met a man he was all dressed in green,
Black pants and white waistcoat 'twas plain to be seen.

Oh, it's home to old England I'll carry my bride,
With a ship on dry land and a fair wind and a tide;
And when I gets back in the place I was born,
I'll buy a new silver cup made of cow-horn.

As I was a driving down up market one day,
I saw three pretty fair maids a-making of hay;
I saw three pretty fair maids a-making of hay,
In the middle of winter one fine summer's day.

A one-legged drummer was beating his drum,
With his heels in his pockets up to me he did run;
He turned his back to me, stared me in the face,
And asked me the way as if I did know the place.

####.... Author unknown. One of many variants of traditional stage or music hall nonsense songs popular with minstrels ....####

Sung in 1950 by Alexander March [1865-1953] of Port au Port, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada, p.274, © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

MacEdward Leach also collected two variants published as #110, Paddy Backwards, in Folk Ballads And Songs Of The Lower Labrador Coast by the National Museum of Canada (Ottawa, 1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.


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