Clare County Library
Songs of Clare
Home | Library Catalogue | Music of Clare | Photographic Collection | Maps | Folklore | Genealogy | History | Copyright | What's New

The Farmer and the Draper
(Roud Broadside Number: V9030)
ggy McMahon
Cloonlaheen, Doolough
Recorded in singer's home, October 2000

Carroll Mackenzie Collection


One morning as I went out walking, it being in the month of May,
I heard a curious contest between a farmer and draper by trade.
I drew not to hear them contesting, said I, ‘Young men what do you mean?’
The draper he quickly made answer, ‘He is taking my sweetheart from me.

‘Twould be better for her to be with me, I’d dress her in silk and fine shawl;
Than be drudging with him in his farm, feeding his pigs and his calves.
What comfort she’d have every morning, and this I would have you to know,
While the draper his wife are embracing, the farmer to plough he must go.’

The farmer arose in a bustle saying, ‘You cockle, you fool and you knave!
Why should she be for your intention, to live in a shop like a slave.
I’ve all things at hand in their season, and plenty for stock in my barn.
In my kitchen I keep beef and bacon, with servants to wait on her call.

Whilst you will be flashing your laces, your ribbons and great cotton balls,
And the ropes hanging down by the windows and the blankets spread over the wall.’
Says the draper, ‘This goading is tedious, I’ll make this fair lady my own.
We’ll fight with a pair of shillelagh, I’ll make you to rue or else go.’

They fought for an hour courageous, till both of the weapons they broke.
They caught by the waist of their britches till the draper was forced to give o’er.
This damsel stood still at them gazing, to know who was the best at the stroke,
She shouted a loud acclamation and gave them a dram of good soak.

Five hundred pounds was the portion, and a farm to plough of his own.
So let us drink long life to the farmer, and fill up the crúiscín once more.


Conversation after song between Peggy, Pat Mackenzie and Jim Carroll:
Peggy: The old farmer he got it!
Jim Carroll: Where did you get that one Peggy?
Peggy: Jimmy Gleesons’s grandfather, Jamesie Cleary.
Jim: How long ago?
Peggy: Oh God sure I was only about 16, I suppose 70 years ago. Well I was listening to it since I was about 7 years because we use to sing and we’d have an old song at the house and we use to have great dances at Clearys too. Ah Jamesie had a lot of songs.

"Peggy seems to be the only singer with this song, there is no record of it having been heard from any other singer, nor does it appear to have been ever published. Peggy says she learned it from publican Jimmy Gleeson’s grandfather in Coore when she was very young. There is no information on the song, but many of these pieces were composed at times of great economic upheaval, when the old ways of life was being replaced with new trades and businesses – they acted as advertisements declaring the merits of one over the other. We were only able to trace it to a broadside sheet in the Bodlian Library, Oxford. The information included with the broadside was as follows:

Edition - Bod – 22807, Title Dialogue between a farmer and a draper, First line – It was on a fair summer’s morning, Themes: Farmers, merchants, Quakers, Economy and trade, - Ireland 19th century
Jim Carroll

<< Songs of Clare