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GUEST,John Moulden Lyr Add: Bold Tenant Farmer (33) Lyr Add: THE WIFE OF THE BOLD TENANT FARMER 02 Jan 13

Below is the ballad sheet text of which I wrote and which Martin Ryan was interested in seeing. There are several places where it seems not as plausibly worded as other versions but it seems certain that it's the oldest text known.

Written and sung by Chas Jackson

One evening of late as from Bandon I strayed,
Bound for Clonakilty the best haste I made,
At Ballinascorty for some time I delayed,
    And wetted my whistle with porter.

I kindled my pipe and I spat on my stick
I kept the coach road, like a deer I did trip,
I cared not for bailiff, landlord or old Nick
    But I sang like a lark and a sporter.

I scarcely had travelled a mile on that road,
When I heard a dispute at a farmer's abode,
'Twas the son of a landlord; an ill-looking toad
    And the wife of the bold tennant farmer,

He says When the Devil came over you all,
Not one penny rent at each time we call,
But I think next October we'll settle you all,
    And you'll have the high-road for your garden.

You caffler, this bold tennant's wife she replied
Our national Land League will pull down your pride
You're as bad as your old daddy lived at the other side,
    They're able to brave every storm.

They've branches extending to every town,
Protecting the tennant, their houses and grounds,
We owe you 12 months so we'll give you a pound
    If you clear our receipt in the morning.

When she spoke of the Land League, his lips turned pale
What good have they done? they're stuck into jail
All the rent that is due you must pay the next gale
    For indeed, we will give you no quarter

Your husband I've seen in the town the other night
Drinking and shouting "we must have tenant right.
But the month of October I'll put you to flight,
    To follow your friends o'er the water.

If my husband was drinking, what has it to do?
I'd sooner he'd drink it than give it to you
So make up your mind for you'll get not a screw
    For your poor, marshy land, is no bargain.

Since we joined the League at last New Year's Day,
I think in my heart, we're not going astray
While our Clergy are with us we'll carry the sway
    Singing 'Faughe mea saugh mor a hauasha.

Blessed Father O'Leary, the pride of our isle,
That's the man that can title the landlords in stile.
Next Father Mulcahy ranks on the file,
    Take care he don't tread on your corns!

*** To sweet Timoleague he brought a Free Fair.
*** And the buyers of Munster came from far and near
*** Believe me his foes will have nothing to spare,
***    That's true as the day you were born

Then I slipt from the spot where in ambush I lay
And as he passed out I heard him to say
He wished in his heart he was ten miles away,
   From the wife of the bold tennant farmer!

I shouted Hurrah! and she shouted Hurroo!
He showed us his back and like lightning he flew.
God save the Land -League and Old Ireland too,
    Singing Faugha-mo-saugh-mor-a thashea.

The spelling and punctuation follow the original, as far as my fallibility allows. Note the asterisked verse, which I have not seen elsewhere. It is also notable that the format is four line verses, following the pattern of the 'Limerick Rake' tune, and that the names of the national leaders of the Land League have been substituted by those of local clergy. It is not certain, but is likely, that this text is closer to the original than later oral sets. The curious rendition of the Irish tag, given accurately above by Martin Ryan, is typical of the phonetic imitation of Irish used by ballad printers, and especially by Joseph Haly of Cork. Charles Jackson's work, (he flourished around 1860-90) together with that of another six or seven Limerick based 'poets and singers' was mainly printed by Haly's daughter Catherine, who succeeded him in about 1846, continuing until about 1870. This song is thus too late to have been printed by her and was probably the work of the Dublin printer, John F Nugent, by the time of the Land League the only really prolific printer of Ballads left in Dublin. The copy I have transcribed is unique in my experience. Its survival is very strange indeed for it appears, with a range of secular and freethinking tracts, cuttings, poems, oddities and another 140 ballads whose subjects cover both sides of the Irish political spectrum and none, in a scrapbook compiled, between 1875 and 1895, in Loughgall, Co Armagh, one of the bastions of Unionist power and an epicentre of the tenant population that sustained its masters and landlords. A copy is in ITMA.

I have written about this scrapbook, about the Halys and about the Limerick writers in a range of places. Anyone who would like details should contact me at, where AT = @.

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