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Nancy Hogan’s Goose
(Roud 9703)
Mikey Kelleher
Quilty and Depford, London

Recorded in London, 1977
Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Mikey Kelleher

So come all you gents and ladies, and listen, I will let you hear,
It’s of a terrible story, that happened in this present year.
I’ve been thinking of no harm, to Grogan's store I steered my course,
And I met Bill Hampton's gander and he courting Nancy Hogan's goose.

You all know poor old Nancy, she have got the devil's own auld tongue,
She swore through all the high courts, that she would get the gander hung.
‘You will not hang my gander, the goose herself she’s more to blame,
She strolls out every morning, by damned, I’m sure she's fond of game.’

Now the police, they came next morning and marched the gander off to jail,
And waiting for the assizes, he wouldn’t be let out without strong bail.
There he stood in prison until his trial day came on,
And again Nancy did appear, and there she swore the right and wrong.

So the jury found him guilty and said, ‘My boy, you won't get loose.
You'll get seven year's transportation for courting Nancy Hogan's goose.’
So th'auld gander smiled and cocked his tail,
And looked at the judge straight in the face,
Sayin' ‘Is it for doing my duty, I have to leave my native place?
For if I didn't do my duty the story it would be far worse,
They will have no goslings, and they’d have Nancy Hogan's curse.’

When the judge, he heard the gander speak, he said, ‘My boy, I’ll let you loose.
But when you go back to Grogan's store, be sure and don’t cook Nancy’s goose.’
‘When I go back to Grogan’s store, I’ll feed myself with oats and grass,
And I'll court Nancy Hogan's goose when I get old Nancy gone to Mass.’

So come all you hens and ducks and drakes, turkeys, geese and cocks likewise,
I’ll have it to shun night walking or else ye’ll meet ye're sad surprise.
Ye'll be tried for doing yere duty, like Bill Hampton's gander when he got loose
He got nearly oh transported, for courting Nancy Hogan's goose.

“The only documented recording of this outside Clare is one made by the BBC when it was sung by Caherciveen Travelling woman Lal Smith née Purcell, in Belfast in 1952. BBC note:

‘Singer: 'Lal Smith, Belfast, 'O come all you lads and lassies...' tune lilted. This is a nonsense piece about a gander who is sent to gaol, and nearly transported for the rape of Nancy Hogan's goose. The tune is one generally called 'The Rose Tree', an old English song tune and also an English Morris tune. (The same tune is used for Harry Lauder's ‘Stop Your Tickling Jock’).’

It was popular in the Miltown area up to the 1970s; Willie Clancy sang it, as did Nora Cleary, and an extremely spirited version was recorded by Tom Munnelly from local man J.C. Walsh. It appears not to have travelled out of Ireland, at least, there is no evidence of it having done so.”

BBC Index of Recordings of Folk Music and Folklore, Great Britain and Ireland, BBC Sound Archives.

Jim Carroll

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