The Peeler and the Goat

Melody - "An Buailteoir"

Darby Ryan

As Bansha peelers were, one night,
On duty a-patrolling, O,
They met a goat upon the road
Who seemed to be a-strolling, O
With bayonets fixed they sallied forth,
And caught her by the wizen, O,
And then swore out a mighty oath
They'd send her off to prison, O.

'O, mercy, sirs,' the goat replied;
'Pray, let me tell my story, O;
I am no Rogue or Ribbonman,
No Croppy, Whig or Tory, O.
I'm guilty not of any crime
Of petty or high treason, O,
And I'm sadly wanted at this time,
For 'tis the milking season, O.'

'It is in vain you do complain,
Or give your tongue such bridle,O,
You're absent from your dwelling place,
Disorderly and idle, O.
Your hoary locks will not avail,
Nor your sublime oration, O,
For Grattan's Act will you transport,
By your own information, O.

'This parish and this neighbourhood
Are peaceful, quiet and tranquil, O;
There's no disturbance here,
Thank God, and may it long continue so.
Your oath I don't regard a pin,
To sign for my committal, O,
For my jury will be gentlemen,
To grant me an acquittal, O.'
'I'll soon chastise your impudence
And insolvent behaviour, O;
Well bound to Cashel you'll be sent,
Where you will find no favour, O.
Impartial Billy Purefoy
Will sign your condemnation, O,
And from there to Cork you will be sent
For speedy transportation, O.'

'The Penal Laws I ne'er transgressed,
By need or combination, O;
I have no fixed place of abode,
Nor certain habitation, O.
Bansha is my dwelling-place,
Where I was bred and born, O,
Descended from an honest race,
Therefore your threats I scorn, O.

'Let the consequence be what it will,
A peeler's power I'll let you know!
I'll fetter you at all events
And march you off to prison, O.
You villain! sure you can't deny
Before a judge and jury, O,
That I on you found two long spears
Which chreatened me with fury, O,'

'I'm certain if you weren't drunk
With whiskey, rum or brandy, O,
You would not have such gallant spunk,
Or be so bold or manly, O.
You readily would let me pass
If I'd the sterling handy, O,
To treat you to a poteen glass -O,
'Tis then I'd be the dandy, O!'

Come, fill us up a flowing bowl!
We'll drink a grand libation, O,
And toast a health to each true son
Thtoughout this grand old nation, O!
We'll toast brave Ireland three times three,
With pride and acclamation, O;
May all her people be made free
By speedy separation, O!

Sir Robert Peel was appointed Secretary of Ireland by the British 1812, and one of his first acts was to form a police force. Today such a force seems normal to maintain law and order, but at that time it was a new idea, and in Ireland particularly, regarded as just more interference with the peoples liberty by the occupying power. The members of the new force were quickly labelled 'Peelers' and 'Bobbies' after their creator, and were the subject of ridicule, particularly when their authority to arrest and detain for small offences became apparent. Darby Ryan of Bansha, a small village half-way on the road between Cahir and Tipperary Town, contributed much to the ridicule when he wrote this song well over a century ago, for within a short time it was being sung in a wide district around. It is said to have been inspired by some of the new force taking some straying goats into 'custody' for causing an obstruction.

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