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The Love-of-God Shave
(Laws Q15; Roud 571)
Micho Rusell
Doonagore, Doolin

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Micho Russell

And it was in this town, not far from this spot,
Where a barber once opened his snug little shop.
He was so ill-tempered, his mind was so pleased,
It was said he could coax people in off a the street.

By chance a poor Irishman strolled by the way,
Whose beard had been grown this many long day.
He walked into the barber, and threw down his hod,
Saying, ‘Give me a shave for the pure love of God.’

‘Faith’, said the barber, ‘I never give trust.’
‘By japers', says Pat, ‘but this time you must.
For the devil a penny I’ve got to pay,
And I haven’t got a shave this many a long day.’

‘Sit down', said the barber, ‘sit down in that chair,
And I’ll soon mow your long crazy beard to a hair.’
When the lather was spread over Paddy’s broad chin,
With a rusty old razor did the barber begin.

‘Leave off', cries Pat, ‘what the devil are you doing?
Leave off, you devil, or my jaw you will ruin.
Or who in the devil could sit to be shaved with a saw,
Yerra stop, or you’ll drag every tooth in my jaw.’

‘Sit still', cried the barber, ‘and don’t make such a din,
For you are sure to be cut by the move of your chin.’
‘Cut what!’ says Pat, ‘the razor you have got,
It wouldn’t cut butter unless it was hot.’

The barber shaved on, not pitying his case,
Whilst tears big as turnips ran down Paddy’s face.
‘By japers', says Pat, ‘but that is a taser.
I’m sure you have got the devil’s own razor.’

Well to shorten this song, it happened one day,
Paddy strolled out by the lane where the barber shop lay.
When a donkey bawled out with a terrible roar,
And the noise seemed to come from the barber shop door.

‘Yerra listen', says Pat, ‘that vagabond knave,
He’s giving some other poor devil a love of that shave.
He may shave all his friends and relations till sick,
As for my part, I’d sooner rub it off with a brick.’


“This English broadside dates back to the early part of the 19th century; it was known, among other titles, as ‘The Trust Shave’, ‘The Monkey Turned Barber’and ‘The Irish Bull’. It appeared a couple of times in Britain and only one other version in Ireland, sung by Jack Weafer of Wexford. It also appeared in a couple of Irish-American songbooks at the end of the 19th century. It was extremely popular in the United States where it was said to have been performed on the vaudeville stage in a broad ‘Oirish’ accent.”
Jim Carroll

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