Betsy Brennan's Blue Hen (Gerald S Doyle)

See also: Blue Hen (MacEdward Leach)

From the widow McKenny I bought for a penny,
To lay a few eggs when the berries are ripe;
But some dirty crawler from the hen house did haul her,
My beautiful little blue hen did swipe.

May his whiskers turn green when he eats a crubeen,
And may pork fat and beans nearly make him insane;
May two dogs and a crackie eat all his tobaccy.
The villain who stole my little blue hen.

Oh, this hen she had dozens of nephews and cousins,
The world 'round I would roam for her sake;
But some wicked savage, to grease his white cabbage,
Walked off with my hen and my beautiful drake.

May her stockings fall down when she goes out of town,
May the hair on her crown she can't bob it, and then;
May the girls from the Nor'ard stick pins in her forehead,
The villain who lifted my little blue hen.

I bought from Port Saunders that hen and two ganders,
But some dirty clown from my hen house did steal;
My beautiful chicken I would have for pickin',
On Christmas Day for to have a fine meal.

May the ravenous baste burst her blouse at the waist,
May she not get a taste of a dumplin' or cake;
May a man from Freshwater go back on her daughter,
That lifted my hen and my beautiful drake.

I would search the seas over from Boston to Dover,
To find out the rover and wouldn't stop then;
I would walk to Trepassey to collar the lassie,
Who pilfered my dear little beautiful hen.

May the measles and gout when he chance to go out,
On his double chin mouth, shove him down in the pen;
By the curse of Belleoram may he never stop roarin',
The villain who lifted my little blue hen.

May his pipe never smoke, may his teapot be broke,
And to add to the joke, may his kettle not boil;
May he burst on cauld tay when he drinks any day,
And his ton of fox whiskers may soon go to soil.

May his clothes be in rags and his trousers bread bags,
May he stagger from jags if he goes 'round the lake;
And may he have bunions as big as small onions,
The scoundrel who lifted my beautiful drake.

####.... Johnny Burke of St John's, NL [1851-1930] ....####
Published in Gerald S Doyle's Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers (First edition, p.47, 1927; Fourth edition, p.76, 1966; Fifth edition, p.58, 1978).

Gerald Doyle noted: "We understand that this was a very popular song when it first appeared but found it extremely difficult to find any person who remembered the verses. Mr John Burke, the author, who is unquestionably one of our most talented humorous songwriters, eventually located a copy amongst his back files and delivered it to us in person. John Burke was composing songs fifty years ago, and we are sure that many of our readers will be pleased to know that like another well known John he is still going strong."

A variant was also published in Burke's Ballads, pp.52-53, c.1960, compiled by John White and archived at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Libraries, Centre For Newfoundland Studies - Digitized Books collection.

See more songs by Johnny Burke.

A variant was arranged and recorded as My Little Blue Hen by Omar Blondahl (Sings Of Newfoundland, trk#11, 197? LP, Continental Records Company Ltd, Streetsville, Mississauga, Ontario); and (The Roving Newfoundlander, trk#3, 1959 LP, Banff-Rodeo, Halifax, Nova Scotia, distributed by London Records of Canada); and (16 Songs Of Newfoundland, trk#14, 1959 LP, Banff-Rodeo, Halifax, Nova Scotia, distributed by London Records of Canada); and (Canadian Country Classics: Songs From The Rock, trk#15, 1997 CD, Rodeo Records, Peterborough, Ontario).

See more songs by Omar Blondahl.

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Crackie - small, noisy mongrel dog; frequently in phrase saucy as a cracky, applied to a person who usually has a saucy tongue or a person who will answer back.
Crubeen - pickled pig's foot.


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