Clare County Library
Songs of Clare
Home | Library Catalogue | Music of Clare | Forums | Foto | Maps | Folklore | Genealogy | History | Museum | Search this Website | Copyright | What's New

Five Nights Drunk
(Child 274; Roud 114)
Mikey Kelleher
Quilty and Depford, London

Recorded in London, 1977
Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Mikey Kelleher

Oh, when I came home on Monday night as drunk as drunk could be,
I saw a horse outside the door where my old horse should be.
I called my wife and I said to her, ‘Would you kindly tell to me,
Who owns that horse outside the door where my old horse should be?’

‘Oh you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool,
You’re drunk and you cannot see.
That is the lovely sow pig, my mother sent to me.’
Many the day I’ve travelled a hundred miles and more
And a saddle on a sow pig’s back I never saw before.

When I came home a Tuesday night as drunk as drunk could be,
I saw a coat behind the door where my old coat should be.
I called my wife and said to her, ‘Would you kindly tell to me,
Who owns that coat behind the door where my old coat should be?’

‘Oh you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool,
You’re drunk and you cannot see.
That is a lovely blanket that my mother sent to me.’
Many the day I’ve travelled, one hundred miles and more
And buttons on a blanket I never saw before.

I came home a Wednesday night as drunk as drunk could be,
I saw a pipe upon the chair where my old pipe should be.
I called my wife and said to her, ‘Would you kindly tell to me,
Who owns that pipe upon the chair where my old pipe should be?’

‘You’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool,
You’re drunk and you cannot see.
That is a lovely tin whistle my mother sent to me.’
Many the day I’ve travelled a hundred miles and more
And tobacco in a tin whistle I never saw before.

I came home a Thursday night as drunk as drunk could be.
I saw two boots beside the bed where my old boots should be.
I called my wife and said to her, ‘Would you kindly tell to me,
Who owns them boots beside the bed where my old boots should be?’

‘Oh you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool,
You’re drunk, you cannot see.
They are the nice geranium pots my mother sent to me.’
Many the day I’ve travelled one hundred miles and more
And geranium pots beside the bed I never saw before.

I came home a Friday night as drunk as drunk could be,
I saw a head upon the bed where my old head should be.
I called my wife and I said to her, ‘Would you kindly tell to me,
Who owns that head upon the bed where my old head should be?’

You’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool,
You’re drunk and you cannot see,
That is the lovely baby boy my mother sent to me.
Many the day I’ve travelled one hundred miles and more
And whiskers in a baby boy I never saw before.


“This ballad, known variously as: ‘Our Guidman’, ‘Seven Nights Drunk’, ‘The Blin’ (Blind) Old Man’, ‘The Cuckold’s Song’, ‘The Drunkards Blues’, ‘The Connaughtman’... and dozens of other titles, tells of a cuckolded husband repeatedly returning home to find his unfaithful wife ‘in flagrante delicto’. She then attempts to talk her way out of the situation, often to a ridiculous length. It has been doing the rounds as a song in English since at least 1776, though this and similar stories have been current as far back as Chaucer’s time, and probably well beyond. In one early 19th century Scots collection, the lover becomes a Jacobite on the run:

Ben the house gaed the gudeman, and ben gaed he,
And there he spied a hieland plaid, whar nae plaid sud be.
How's this? and what's this, and how cam this to be?
How cam' the plaid here without the leave o’ me?
Oh hooly, hooly, my guideman, and dinna angered be;
It cam wi' cousin McIntosh frae the north countrie.
Your cousin! quo' he; aye cousin, quo' she; (spoken)
Blind as ye may jibe me, I've sight enough to see,
Ye're hidin tories in the house
Without the leave o' me.

An extremely bawdy English version entitled ‘T’owd Chap cam’ ower the Bank’ was recorded from Beckett Whitehead of Delph in Lancashire in the 1930s on behalf of the BBC, but was considered unsuitable for broadcasting. The ballad has been found throughout the English-speaking world, in English, Scots Gaelic, Irish and Welsh. There are also versions in Flemish, German, French, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Magyar, Romanian, Italian... Mikey’s version undoubtedly came from the Irish ballad boom of the 1960s when it was popularised by groups like The Dubliners."

Reference:
The Scottish Minstrel, R. A. Smith, Edinburgh, 1824.

Jim Carroll


<< Songs of Clare