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John Renfro Davis
|This is a sanitized version of a bawdy Irish traditional tune. The author of the words and tune are unknown.
One source (the Randolph Collection) dates to the 1790s. Another refers to it as a variant of an eighteenth-century British ballad. For specific sources of information on the history of the tune go to the Digital Tradition and do a forum, subject search for "Riley's Daughter" (the tune is in the database under that spelling).
As I was sitting by the fire,
Talking to old Reilly's daughter
Suddenly a thought came into my head:
I'd like to marry old Reilly's daughter,
Giddy I Ay, Giddy I Ay, Giddy I Ay
For the one eyed Reilly,
Giddy I Ay, (bang, bang, bang)
Play it on your big brass drum.
For Reilly played on the big brass drum
Reilly had a mind for murder and slaughter,
Reilly had a bright red gilttering eye,
And he kept an eye on his lovely daughter.
Her hair was black and her eyes were blue
The colonel and the major and the captain sought her
The sergeant and the private and the drummer boy, too
But they never had a chance with O'Reilly's daughter.
I got me a ring and a parson, too,
I got me a 'scratch' in the married quarter
Settled me down to a peaceful life,
As happy as a king with O'Reilly's daughter.
Suddenly a footstep on the stair,
Who should it be but the one-eyed Reilly
With two pistols in his hand
Look for the man who married his daughter.
I took O'Reilly by the hair,
Rammed his head in a pail of water,
Fired his pistols in the air,
A darned sight quicker than I married his daughter.
Songs and Ballads of Ireland
See Bibliography for full information.