Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Paddy McGinty's Goat

I've been meaning to do this for a long time...

The words to Paddy McGinty's Goat were passed down to me by my grandpa. His father was an Irish immigrant, and I'd like to believe that they were passed down to him as well.

Yes, I remember when Grandpa taught me this song. I was very young, and eager to learn it. And he was eager to teach it! We practiced for days, and I was so happy to sing a song with Grandpa. Well, the gleeful pride was soon replaced with mortification when, at the Kirby family reunion, Grandpa attempted to lead me around the picnic to sing it. Oh, he wanted to be so proud of me! But I didn't know hardly any of these people, and I'm sure there must've been some kind of ice cream bribery because I did sing it for one group. Really it was just to one group of people, I don't remember who, but I do remember they were super enthusiastic to hear me sing that song, and they sat jovially with their legs crossed in their lawn chairs under tall pines with red bark, and I wish I could see it now. I'm sure it stands in history as the most sheepish recital of that tune ever.

I want to write down the words because they're a bit different from the versions I am finding on the Internet. Of course there's nothing profound here, it's just a funny old Irish tune. You'll notice there are two lines missing from the 4th verse. I don't know if that's how it was taught to me, or if I just never remembered them and got used to singing it that way. Also, on that fourth line in the first verse, where I have "it 'twas", that is intentional. Sic. That's how it's sung. Also, I can't fully remember the third line of the third verse. Any help would be appreciated!

Patrick McGinty, an Irishman of note,
fell into a fortune, he thought he'd buy a goat.
"Of goat's milk," said Paddy, "I think I'll drink me fill,"
but when he got the nanny home he found it 'twas a bill.

On the west coast of Ireland one morning there was seen,
Just as plain as a pipe staff, a German submarine!
The coast guard Mahoney fell over in a fit,
"And now," said McGinty's goat, "I think I'll do me bit."

He dove into the water just as frisky as a whale,
He bucked his billy horns, and he wagged his billy tail.
He chased the Huns to Helgaland and then he ________
He chased the Huns to Helgaland did Paddy McGinty's goat.

Now Paddy McGinty's goat had an enormous appetite
And one morning for breakfast he ate some dynamite!

He laid down by the fire and he didn't give a dang,
he swallowed up a spark and exploded with a bang!
So when you get to Heaven, you can bet your bottom note
the angel there with whiskers ooooooonnnnn iiis Paddy McGinty's goat.


skmckinn said...

"Nothing profound here," PSH-shaw, let us humanities folk at it, you mathematician.

Looks like you've got yourself a post-Great-War version of this song. In the one version I've heard (unless I'm misremembering) the billy just runs amock in the town, no mention of Helga-land or U-boats...

Definitely worth recording this iteration. I'll have to send it to my thesis advisor. (She's The Woman in Irish folklore. Just wrote a book about harps.)

Digitizdat said...

Kate, that is a great observation. I keep meaning to ask my grandma about it, but I never remember until it's late. More to come...