Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Stolen Horse

Words:  J Smail
Tune:  Traditional (Derry Down)

Pat once on a time lost a puddling horse
Which put him to some inconvenience, iv coorse;
"Be me soul, then," says he, " But the nag shall be found,
For I'll search all the district for fifty miles round."
Derry down, down, down, derry down.

Now he hunted a week, but his search was in vain,
And so he returned to his tent once again;
His mate, with an oath, said to Pat, "I'll be bound
That some thief of a squatter has put him in pound."
Derry down etc.

As Pat was returning from labor one day,
He spied his own horse wid some more in a dray.
He seized him at once, and held on to him fast,
"Be the powers," says he, "but I've got you at last."

Wid the driver and Pat, a dispute then arose,
From high words, be-gorra, they soon came to blows;
The p'lice saw the row, and came down from the camp,
And says Pat, "Take that man, he's a horse-stealing scamp"

Now the case was called on, after several remands
And the magistrate ask'd Pat to tell them the brands,
"There's BO on the shoulder," says he, "and it's plain,
He has three white fore-feet, switch tail and long mane.

Here a terrible scrimmage occurred in the place
For a fellow jumped and stared Pat in the face;
"Why, you blackguard," says he, "that's my horse, you know
For I lost the same baste about two years ago."

The bench then ax'd Pat his receipt to produce,
But Pat swore he wouldn't endure such abuse;
For he'd plenty of witnesses there that were able
To prove that he'd found him one night in a stable.

Poor Paddy tried hard to get out of the scrape,
But they'd got him so fast that he couldn't escape.
Now the poor devil's reaping the fruit that he sow'd
For he's doing his ten years' hard work on the road.

Published in Rod Edwards' Big Book of Australian Folk Songs with the following note:

The Stolen Horse was composed around 1857 by J Smail and published in a Colonial Songster published by Hodgson of Castlemaine, Vic.  A puddling horse was one used to drag around a rake-like apparatus set inside a circular tank.  The tank was filled with gold-bearing clay and water and the rakes reduced this to a slurry, which could then be processed to recover the gold.

The illustration to this post is a copy of Ron Edwards' book cover, available from Ramskull Press.

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