Mrs Mullowney Was Three Weeks In Bed
(Johnny Burke)

Mrs James Mullowney gave
a party Tuesday night,
And all the aristocracy
of course she did invite;
They say the table fairly groaned
when Olive laid the spread,
And Mrs James did honours
to the table at the head.

Old skipper Jim, her husband,
sure she worked him like a hoss,
Till his back got in a double,
lugging gads each day across;
Till he nearly filled a puncheon
and to feed a steamer's crew -
For her friends had no fault finding
at this famous flipper stew.

All hands sat in their places
to do justice to this spread,
And Mrs Mullowney's plate was fill'd,
you just could see her head;
And to say that flippers vanished
would be proper to relate,
Till nothing but a mass of bones
remained upon her plate.

No doubt she did them justice,
for her appetite was sharp,
She didn't leave a toenail
of a white coat or a harp;
In fact she gormandized so much
she couldn't eat no more,
Till bilious from devouring prog,
she swooned off on the floor.

A doctor soon was hastened,
while she lay in racks of pain,
The doctor said for certain
she had bedlamers on the brain;
And now just mention flipper stews
whenever you go in,
And a lighted lamp of kerosene
will take you on the chin.

####.... Johnny Burke [1851-1930] of St John's, NL ....####
Published as Mrs Mullowney Was Three Weeks In Bed Since She Ate The Flipper Stew in Burke's Ballads, p.49, c.1960, compiled by John White and archived at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Libraries, Centre For Newfoundland Studies - Digitized Books collection.

See more songs by Johnny Burke.

From The Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Bedlamers - immature seals, especially harp seals approaching breeding age.
Flipper - fore-limb of a seal, especially as prepared for eating.
Gads - pliable branch, often forked, passed through the gills of a trout or the toes of a seal's flipper for ease in carrying; the quantity of trout or flippers so carried.
Harp - migratory seal of northern waters hunted as the most valuable for its fur and oil, recognized by a mark over the shoulders with a brown figure crudely resembling a harp.
Prog - food (for a meal of lunch); victuals, grub or winter supplies.
Puncheon - largest of the wooden casks once used as containers in the fisheries, usually made of oak and bound with steel hoops, about 4 feet high and 3 feet wide, and containing up to 140 gallons.
White Coat - young harp seal with white fur soon shed.

From Princeton University's WordNet:
Bilious - irritable as if suffering from indigestion; suffering from or suggesting a liver disorder or gastric distress.
Gormandize - overeat or eat immodestly; make a pig of oneself.


Index Page
GEST Songs Of
Newfoundland And Labrador


~ Copyright Info ~

~ Privacy Policy ~

Confirm Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Here