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|This ballad was collected in Northern Ireland by Sean O'Boyle and Peter Kennedy in 1952. The tune is a traditional jig. It is also known as The Devil and the Bailiff (also spelled Baliff).
quare = queer
One fine sunny evening last summer,
I was straying along by the sea,
When a pair of quare playboys a-roving
before me I happened to see.
Now to learn what these boy-os were up to
A trifle I hastened me walk,
For I thought I could learn their profession
When I got within range of their talk.
Now, one of these boys was the devil
And the other was Baliff McGlynn,
And the one was as black as the other
And both were as ugly as sin.
Says the old boy, says he, "I'm the devil,
And you are a baliff, I see."
"Ah! 'tis the devil himself," cries the baliff,
"Now that beats the devil," says he.
A gossoon ran out from a cottage
and took him up over the fields.
"May the devil take you," said his mother,
As she rattled a stone at his heels.
"Ah now, why don't you take the young rascal,
your highness?" the baliff he cried.
"It was not from her heart that she said it,"
the devil he smiling replied.
Close by a small patch of potatoes
A banbh was striving to dig,
When the owner come out and she cried,
"May the devil take you for a pig!"
Said the baliff, "Now that's a fine offer.
Why not take the banbh?" says he.
"It was but with her lips that she said it,
And that's not sufficient for me."
As they jogged on, the gossoon espyed them,
and into his mother he sped,
Crying, "Mother!" says he, "There's a baliff!"
She clasped her two hands and she said,
"May the devil take that ugly baliff!"
Said the old boy, "Bedad! That'll do.
It was straight from her heart that she said it,
So Baliff McGlynn, I'll take you."
|Music from Charles Wingate|