Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Jug of Punch"

"The Jug Of Punch," Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Altan

From a thread at on the indispensable Mudcat Cafe forum:

Mudcat Cafe thread at Subject: Lyr Add: THE JUG OF PUNCH
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 09:03 AM

For GUEST,guest of 4 Nov
The Jug Of Punch
As sung by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh on Island Angel by Altan

Bein' on the twenty-third of June, as I sat weaving all at my loom,
Bein' on the twenty-third of June, as I sat weaving all at my loom,
I heard a thrush, singing on yon bush, and the song she sang was the Jug of Punch.

What more pleasure can a boy desire, than sitting down beside the fire?
What more pleasure can a boy desire, than sitting down beside the fire?
And in his hand a jug of punch, and on his knee a tidy wench.

When I am dead and left in my mould, at my head and feet place a flowing bowl,
When I am dead and left in my mould, at my head and feet place a flowing bowl,
And every young man that passes by, he can have a drink and remember I.

According to the notes to the album "this version of the popular song is from the singing of Edward Quinn from Castlecaulfield, Co. Tyrone."

None of the lyrics available on line have attempted the lilting between verses>Even Mudcat has only this: "Has anyone sorted out the "nonsense" lyrics altan sings at the end of each verse[?] They start out something like / Pa da da da day."

* * *

Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music ( has lyrics from A.L. Lloyd and Martin Carthy, plus this background:

A.L. Lloyd sang A Jug of Punch in 1956 on the Riverside album English Drinking Songs. He wrote in the sleeve notes:

This is probably an Irish importation, brought to East Anglia by migrant potato-lifters. A brief song, it opens politely and proceeds on a rapid downhill slide into maudlin defiance, resembling a gent with sprigged waistcoat and churchwardens pipe striving to shore up his dignity while the world is slipping out of focus and into a happy haze.

And Martin Carthy and chorus sang Jug of Punch in a much happier tone on Songs from ABC Television's “Hallelujah”.

Mainly Norfolk website refers to catalog no. Roud 1808 in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at Cecil Sharp House in London, which has sheet music and recordings from Ireland (several), Northern Ireland (Belfast [4] and Londonderry, several from 1960s-1990s in N. Ireland) chapbooks published in Newcastle, London [ Burdett's London Comic Songster for 1854-5 pp.10-11], New York [O'Conor, Irish Com-all-Ye's (1901) p.154; Six Hundred and Seventeen Irish Songs and Ballads [c1898] p.37; ], Michigan [Rickaby, Ballads & Songs of the Shanty-Boy (1926) pp.110-112].

Ballad Index,, Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle, Fresno State. Says it is found in Ireland and Canada (Maratime Provinces), cites a variant from Nova Scotia.

Fiddlers Companion has four reels and this:

JUG OF PUNCH [4]. Irish, Air (9/8 time). B Flat Major. Standard tuning. One part. “An air formed on that called Brigid astore” (Stanford/Petrie).
I spied a thrush on yonder bush,
And the song she samg was a jug of punch.
Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 353, pg. 89.

At least two published sources:

  • Lyrics and music (in G) in Davidson's Universal Melodist: Consisting of the Music and Words of Popular, Standard, and Original Songs, &c. Arranged So as to be Equally Adapted for the Sight-singer, the Performer on the Flute, Cornopean, Accordion, Or Any Other Treble Instrument ed. George Henry Davidson. (London: G.H. Davidson, 1853) Google Books. p 426. Davidson has this note: "Sung by Mrs. Fitzwilliam, in Buckstone's Drama of the 'Green Bushes' -- Published by Buckstone."

    Says Wikipedia of Buckstone -- For the Adelphi, he wrote The Green Bushes and The Flowers of the Forest, both in 1847. And this: "According to director Nigel Everett and stagehands at the Haymarket Theatre, Buckstone's ghost has often been seen at the theatre, particularly during comedies and "when he appreciates things" playing there. In 2009, The Daily Telegraph reported that the actor Patrick Stewart saw the ghost standing in the wings during a performance of Waiting for Godot at the Haymarket."

  • Lyrics in chapter titled "The Shebeen House" in Barney O'Rierdon, Or, the Adventures of an Irishman, by Samuel Lover. Philadelphia: Garrett, Dick & Fitzgerald, 1844 pp. 50-51.

    Wikipedia has this at

    Lover was born at number 60 Grafton Street, Dublin and went to school at Samuel Whyte's at 79 Grafton Street, now home to Bewley's Café. By 1830 he was secretary of the Royal Hibernian Academy and lived at number 9 D'Olier Street. In 1835 he moved to London and began composing music for a series of comic stage works.[1] To some of them, like the operetta Il Paddy Whack in Italia (1841), he contributed both words and music, for others he merely contributed a few songs.

    Lover produced a number of Irish songs, of which several – including The Angel's Whisper, Molly Bawn, and The Four-leaved Shamrock – attained great popularity. He also wrote novels, of which Rory O'Moore (in its first form a ballad), and Handy Andy are the best known, and short Irish sketches which, with his songs, he combined into a popular entertainment called Irish Nights or Irish Evenings. With the latter, he toured North America during 1846-8. He joined with Charles Dickens in founding Bentley's Magazine.

    "When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen." — Samuel Lover

    Lover's grandson was composer Victor Herbert whose mother was Lover's daughter Fanny. Irish-born and German-raised, Herbert is best known for his many successful musicals and operettas that premiered on Broadway. As a child he stayed with the Lovers in a musical environment following the death of his father.

  • Irish Folk Songs: The Words by Alfred Perceval Graves, the Airs Arranged by Charles Wood. London: Boosey & Co., 1897. Google Books. p. 120- "The words and air of this old Song were supplied to us by Dr. Joyce. Samuel Lover has a version of his own, but it seemed to us that both the old ballad and Folk-tune needed fresh treatment." AIR: The Robber 121. 120-26.

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