A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

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BENEDICT AND BALEE
103
some little fellow, the very embodiment of sunny smiles and laughter, he was the merriest play­mate we children had yet known. We adored him. He romped with us, told us fairy tales, sang comic songs to us, until we were completely fascinated by his exuberant good humour and inexhaustible fun. . . . Our neighbours the Powers and the Bishops have come in, and we are all laughing until tears run down our cheeks at Mr. Balfe's singing ' Our little pigs lie on very good straw—aw-aw, hee-haw.' He imitates the pigs grunting to perfection. . . . He has children of his own, and his wife, a very hand­some woman, can hardly speak a word of English. She insists upon calling him her 'horse-pond,' instead of her husband."
On another occasion Balfe brought Thomas Moore, the poet, with him to the house, and Beale describes his introduction to the latter. "They tried some music Balfe had composed to Moore's words, which they wished my father to hear. Balfe told me never to forget I had had the honour of speaking to Ireland's greatest poet. Thomas Moore shook hands with me, saying his compatriot Balfe had kissed the Blarney Stone—a piece of information I could not be expected to understand at the time."
Balfe's earliest ballad was composed at the age of ten. This was a song entitled "Young
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