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Peeler and the Goat
(Roud 1458)
Martin Reidy
Tullaghaboy, Connolly
Recorded in a bar in Connolly, July 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Martin Reidy

A Bansha peeler went out one night on duty and patrolling O;
He spied a goat upon the road and took her to be a stroller O;
With bayonet fixed he sallied forth and took her by the wizen O
And then he swore a mighty oath, he’d cast her off to prison O.
[Dowdles two lines.]

“Oh, mercy sir,” the goat replied, “and let me tell me story O.
For I’m no rogue, no Ribbonman, no Croppy, Whig or Tory O
For I’m not guilty of any crime, rapacy or high treason O;
I’m badly wanted at the time for this is the milking season O.”
[Dowdles two lines.]

“Let the consequence be what it will, a peeler’s power I’ll let you know.
I’ll handcuff you, at all events and march you off to bridewell O.
And sure, you rogue, you can’t deny before the judge or jury O,
Intimidation with your horns and threatening me with fury O.”
[Dowdles two lines.]

This parish and this neighbourhood is all peaceable and tranquil O;
There’s no disturbance here, thank God, and long may it continue so.
And as for you, rogue, I don’t regard a ? or sign for my committal O.
My jury will be gentlemen and grant me my acquittal O.
[Dowdles two lines.]


“Inspired by the introduction of the new police into Ireland by Sir Robert Peel in the 1830s, this satire, written by Jeremiah O'Ryan (Derby Ryan), gave rise to a number of imitations and parodies, including the song entitled ‘The Peelers and The Pig’ which was published in Kidson and Moffat's collection, ‘A Garland of English Folk-Songs’:

A bunch of peelers went out one day
On duty for patrolling, O,
A pig they met upon the way
That on the road was rolling, O.
Says one This is the clearest case
This pigs the road obstructed, O.
Let's take it to that lock-up place
For vagrant beasts constructed, O.

The pig roamed up and down the street
With ears erected saliently,
Upon the beast with silent feet
They all advanced most valiantly.
"Move on!" in solemn tones they cried,
"Your habitation is the stye,
Your occupation to provide
The rasher and the porcine pie!'

With many a loud insulting grunt
The laws coercion it defied,
In following the piggish hunt
The peelers' legs were sorely tried.
At last at Murphy's yard it paused
And thought to join its usual sty,
A fatal pause - for thus it caused
Its capture with a joyful cry.

And so this very wicked swine
Was led in a triumphant course,
And Murphy in default of fine
Surrenderd piggy to the Force.
And round the stations glowing grate
Each other's ribs in joy they dig,
And laugh with glee while they relate
Their triumph over Murphy's pig."

Reference: A Garland of English Folksongs, Kidson and Moffat, 1926.
Jim Carroll

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