The Kelligrews Soiree
John White's Collection of the Songs of Johnny Burke, ed. William J. Kirwin (St. John's, Newfoundland: Harry Cuff, 1982): 34-35.
1You may talk of Clara Nolan's ball,
2 Or anything you choose
3But it couldn't hold a snuff-box
4 To the spree in Kelligrews.
5If you want your eyeballs straightened,
6 Just come out next week with me
7And you'd have to wear your goggles
8 At the Kelligrew Soiree.
11 Pigs' feet, cats' teeth, dumplings boiled in a sheet;
14 As I squared my yards to sail,
17Bill Cuddihy's old working pants,
18 And Martin Casey's shoes,
19And an old white vest from Fogarty
20 To sport in Kelligrews.
22 Everything to catch the pennies raise your hearts to see,
23 Boiled owl, cold owl, Plymouth rock and Jersey fowl;
24 Apple dumplings in a towel at the Kelligrews Soiree.
25Oh, when I arrived at Betsy Snooks,
26 That night at half past eight;
27The place was black with carriages,
28 Stood waiting at the gate.
30 The first words Betsy said,
31Here comes a local preacher
32 And the pulpit on his head.
34 Mr. Binks read out the news! they all cried out to me,
38 Miss Betsy kindly said;
39I danced with Mrs. Tilley
41And Hogan danced with Betsy,
42 Oh, you should have seen her shoes,
44 That night in Kelligrews.
47 And a little drop of stuff to raise our hearts you see;
48 Cold teas, sliced cheese, muskrat ears and bumble bees.
49 Everything the eye could please at the Kelligrews Soiree.
50Crooked Flavin struck the fiddler,
51 And a hand I then took in;
52You should see George Cluney's beaver
53 And it flattened to the rim.
54And Hogan's coat was like a vest,
55 The tails were gone you see;
57 And your Kelligrews Soiree.
9] Birch rhine: birch bark, used sometimes for insulation (Dictionary of Newfoundland English). Back to Line
10] Jowls: meat from the jaw-bone of a pig (Dictionary of Newfoundland English). calavances: type of small bean used especially for soup (Dictionary of Newfoundland English). Back to Line
12] crackies' meat: meat from a small, noisy mongrel dog (Dictionary of Newfoundland English). Back to Line
13] beaver: beaver hat. Back to Line
15] swallow tail: swallow-tailed coat. Back to Line
16] foxy: faded. Back to Line
21] piccaninnies: very young animals. Back to Line
29] funnel: top hat. Back to Line
33] "brewse": "Sea-biscuit or 'hard tack' soaked in water and then boiled; such a dish cooked with salt cod and fat pork" (Dictionary of Newfoundland English). Back to Line
35] lassey balls: molasses balls. Back to Line
36] Pullets: chickens. Back to Line
37] saratoga lancers: a traditional Cape Breton tune and reel. Back to Line
40] head: wharf. Back to Line
43] flintlocks: "gun-lock in which a flint, screwed to the cock, is struck against the hammer and produces sparks which ignite the priming in the flash-pan" (OED). Back to Line
46] duff: "pudding made of flour and water, sometimes with suet and raisins added, boiled in a cloth bag" (Dictionary of Newfoundland English). cuff: thick, fingerless, winter mitten. Back to Line
56] haul: catch in a net (as fish). Back to Line
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung