The Trinity Cake

Original Text: 
John White's Collection of the Songs of Johnny Burke, ed. William J. Kirwin (St. John's, Newfoundland: Harry Cuff, 1982): 41-42.
1As I leaned o'er the rail of the Eagle,
2    The letter boy brought unto me,
3A little gilt edged invitation,
4    Saying the girls want you over to tea,
5Sure I know the O'Hooligans sent it,
6    And I went, just for ould friendship sake
7When the first thing they gave me to tackle,
8    Was a slice of the Trinity Cake.
Cho: --
10            With handles of double edged files,
11        Corners of clergymen's pockets,
12            And pieces of broken bass voils.
14            That would build up a fine stomach ache,
15        For 'twould kill a man twice after eating one slice,
16            Of this wonderful Trinity cake.
17Mrs. Hooligan, proud as a peacock,
18    Kept smiling and blinking away,
19While her daughter Johanna, a spinster,
20    Was helping the boys to the tea,
21There was everything on the table,
22    That a man or a woman could take,
23And my eyes nearly bust from their sockets,
24    For a taste of the Trinity Cake.
25Ellen Reardigan wanted to taste it,
26    And she struggled near ready to bust,
27When the sealers attacked it with hand-spikes,
28    To try and remove the top crust.
29Then McCarthy went out for a hatchet,
30    And Flanningan grabbed an old saw
31That cake was enough, be the powers,
32    To paralyze every man's jaw.
33McCarthy complained of the stomach,
34    And Moran felt bad in the head
36    And prayed that he wished he was dead,
38    And there he did wriggle and shake,
39And all of them swore they were poisoned or more,
40    From eating this wonderful cake.
Cho: --
41        There was glass-eyes, bulls-eyes and butter,
42            Lampwicks and Liniment too,
43        Pastry as hard as a shutter,
44            That a billy goat's jaw couldn't chew,
46            That would give you the fever and ache,
48            After eating this Trinity Cake.


9] bird-calls: instrument imitating bird-song. Back to Line
13] Blue lights: "a pyrotechnical composition which burns with a blue flame, used also at sea as a night-signal" (OED). Back to Line
35] melodian: "simple reed organ with a single keyboard, usually powered by pedal-operated bellows" (OED). Back to Line
37] harmonian: musician. Back to Line
45] crackies: small, noisy mongrel dogs (Dictionary of Newfoundland English). Back to Line
47] crack off: collapse (?). Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: