Monday, March 17, 2008

Paddy's Lamentation

A post about disability history that takes note of St. Patrick's Day? No problem. A well-known 19c. immigration ballad, "Paddy's Lamentation," is about an Irishman who arrives in America just in time to be recruited into the Union Army, and he loses a leg in combat. There are many recorded versions of this, and quite a number of YouTube videos featuring the song, but I've chosen a simple performance by young man playing a guitar (a stationary camera is pointed at the guitar; we rarely catch the singer's whole face, but he's a young white man with a beard):

Well it's by the hush, me boys, and sure that's to hold your noise
And listen to poor Paddy's sad narration
I was by hunger pressed, and in poverty distressed
So I took a thought I'd leave the Irish nation

CHORUS: Here's to you boys, now take my advice
To America I'll have you(s) not be comin'
There ain't nothing here but war, where the murderin' cannons roar
And I wish I was at home in dear old Dublin

Well meself and a hundred more, to America sailed o'er
Our fortunes to be made we were searchin'
When we got to Yankee land, they shoved a gun into our hands
Saying "Paddy, you must go and fight for Lincoln"


General Meagher to us he said, if you get shot or lose a leg
Every mother's son of you will get a pension
Well meself I lost me leg, they gave me a wooden peg,
And by God this is the truth to you I mention


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