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In a corner quite cozy with rum red and rosy,
In a saddle roofed house, oh, belong to Kate Day;
Assembled last Friday togged off snug and tidy,
For Gullivan's little black pig for to play.
John Doyle and Ben Keilly and long Dennis Doyle,
Kennedy faced Reilly and Healy faced Breen;
And fists strong and able were welting the table,
The tricks were pulled in on the little Boneen.
The game was played fairly and all things went squarely,
Till Kennedy slipped a card under the chair;
His blood it was boiling, for fight they were spoiling,
When Doyle said the game wasn't getting played square.
The rumpus in earnest began right away,
When the chairs and the stovelids was raised to be seen;
The light was pulled out and 'twas clout after clout,
Till the eyes were bet out of the little Boneen.
Then Gullivan fisted his pig by the tail,
And over his head right and left he let fly;
With bran on his face got his thumb out of place,
Sure when Boneen's hind trotters took Doyle in the eye.
The fight it did end and they all made for home,
Such a battered up crowd sure the boys never seen;
And French is in bed with a lump on his head,
From the game so 'tis said of the little Boneen.
Sung in 1951 by Jack Knight [born c.1874] of Shoe Cove, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).
The original lyrics by Johnny Burke were published as Playing For The Boneen in Burke's Ballads, p.35, c.1960, compiled by John White and archived at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Libraries, Centre For Newfoundland Studies - Digitized Books collection.
See more Johnny Burke songs.
From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Boneen - young pig.