Andrew Moar [Paddy Hagerty’s Old Leather Breeches ] SA1971.216.3
An old Irish comic street ballad dating from the early 19th century: but the title is today associated more with an instrumental Irish jig which has a tune different from that sung here by Andrew. His text differs slightly in places from those in most broadsheets, including P. J. Kennedy’s The Universal Irish Song Book (New York, 1884); but in almost all cases his version allows the song to flow better within the line. (Roud no. 923)
Andrew did not sing a few verses that were in Kennedy’s book so we have added them (offsetting them slightly).
At the sign of the Bell, on the road to Clonmel
Paddy Hagerty kept a neat cabin;
Sold pig’s meat and bread, kept lodgers besides,
Was well liked in the country he lived in.
Himself and his wife, they both struggled with life.
And in weekdays, Pat mended the ditches,
But on Sundays he dressed in a coat of the best,
But his pride was his old leather breeches.
[For twenty-one years, at least so it appears,
His father those breeches had run in.
The morning he died, he to his bedside
Called Paddy, his beautiful son, in.
Advice then he gave, ere he went to the grave.
He bid him take care of his riches.
Says he: “It’s no use to pop into my shoes,
But I wish you’d step into my breeches.”]
Now last winter’s snow left vittals so low,
That Paddy was ate out completely.
The snow coming down, he could not get to town.
Thoughts of hunger it bothered him greatly.
One night as he lay a-dreaming away
About ghosts, fairies, spirits and witches,
He heard an uproar just outside the door,
So he jumped and pulled on his breeches.
Says Bryan M’Guirk, in a voice like a Turk,
“Come Paddy, and get us some eating.”
Says big Andy Moore: “We’ll burst open the door,
Sure this is no night to be waitin’.”
The words were scarce spoke when the door it was broke,
And they crowded round Paddy like leeches.
And they swore by the mob, if they didn’t get grub,
They would eat him clean out of his breeches.
So Paddy in dread slipped away to the bed,
That held Judy, his own darling wife in,
And there it was agreed they would have a feed.
So he slipped out and brought a big knife in.
He’s cut up the waist of his breeches, the best,
And he’s ripped out the buttons and stitches,
And he cut them in stripes in the way they would do tripes,
And he boiled them his old leather breeches.
The tripes were stewed, on a dish they were strewed.
And the boys roared out: “Lord-be-thankit!”
But Hagerty’s wife was afraid of her life.
So she thought it high time for to shank it,
[The boys they all smiled: for they thought Pat had boiled*
Some mutton or beef of the richest;
But little they knew it was leather burgoo,
Made of Paddy’s old worn-out breeches.]
As they messed round the stuff; oh says Darby,”It’s tough.”
Says Paddy: “You’re no judge of mutton,”
When Bryan M’Guirk, on the point of his fork,
Held up a big ivory button.
Says Darby: “What’s that? Sure I thought it was fat.”
Bryan leaps to his feet, and he screeches:
“By the powers above! I was trying to shove
My teeth through the flap of his breeches.”
They all flew at Pat; but he got out of that.
For he ran when he saw them all rising.
Says Bryan: “Make haste, and go for the priest.
By the holy Saint Patrick, I’m poisoned!”
Revenge for the joke they had, for they broke
All the chairs, tables, bowls and dishes,
From that very night, they’ll knock out your daylight,
If they catch you with old leather breeches.”