Modern Street Ballads


There was a man, tho’ it’s not very common,
And as people say he as born of a woman;
And, if it be true, as I have been told,
He was once a mere infant, but age made him old.
                  Derry down.

His face was the oddest that ever was seen,
His mouth stood across ’twixt his nose and his chin;
Whenever he spoke it was then with his voice,
And in talking he always made some sort of noise.
                  Derry down.

He’d an arm on each side to work when he pleased,
But he never worked hard when he lived at his ease,
Two legs he had got to make it complete,
And what is more odd, at each end were his feet.
                  Derry down.

His legs, as folks say, he could move at his will,
And when he was walking he never stood still,
If you were to see him, you’d laugh till you burst,
For one leg or the other would always be first.
                  Derry down.

And, as people say, if you gave him some meat,
Why, if he was hungry, he surely would eat,
And when he is dry, if you give him the pot,
The liquor most commonly runs down his throat.
                  Derry down.

If this whimsical fellow had a river to cross,
If he could not get over, he staid where he was,
He seldom or ever got off the dry ground,
So great was his luck, that he never was drowned.
                  Derry down.

Another misfortune befel this poor yeoman,
For when he was married his wife was a woman,
And if you’ll believe me tho’ he was revil’d,
You may truly aver he was never with child.
                  Derry down.

And if it be true, as I have heard tell,
When he was sick, he was not very well,
He gave a large gasp, open’d his mouth so wide,
And, by some means or other, this poor fellow died.
                  Derry down.

But the reason he died, and the cause of his death,
Was owing, poor soul, to the want of more breath,
And now he is left in the grave for to moulder,
Had he lived a day longer, he’d have been a day older.
                  Derry down.

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