Making Babies By Steam
You lovers of mirth, I pray pay attention
And listen to what I am going to relate,
Concerning a couple I overheard talking
As I was returning late home from a wake.
As I looked around I espied an old woman
Who sat by a gap all a-minding her cow.
She was jigging a tune called 'Come haste to the wedding'
Or some other ditty I can't recall now,
She was jigging a tune called 'An Buachaillín Donn'
Or some other ditty I can't tell you now.
Then in looking around I espied a bold tinker
Who only by chance came a passing that way.
The weather being warm he sat down to rest,
"Oh what news, honest man?" the old woman did say.
"Oh, it's no news at all, ma'am," replied the bold tinker,
"But there's one and I wish he never had been,
It's that damnable rogue of a Daniel O'Connell,
He's now making children in Dublin by steam."
"Oh, children, aroo," replied the old woman.
"ainm an diabhal! [by the devil!], is he crazy at last?
Is there sign of a war or a sudden rebellion
Or what is the reason he wants them so fast?"
"Oh, it's not that at all, ma'am," replied the bold tinker,
"But the children of Ireland are getting so small,
It's her majesty's petition to the Lord High Lieutenant
To not let us make them the old way at all."
"By each hair on my head," replied the old woman,
"And that's the great oath of my soul, for to say,
I am an old woman but if I were nigh him,
It's little a word that O'Connell might say.
The people of Ireland, it's very well known,
We gave him our fortunes, though needing them bad,
And now he is well compensating us for it;
He's taking what little diversion we had!"
"I am an old woman that's going on eighty,
Scarcely a hair on my head to be seen,
But if the villain provokes me I'll make better children
Than ever he could produce with his steam!"
"Good luck to you, woman," replied the bold tinker
"Long may you live and have youth on your side.
For if all the young women of Ireland were like you
O'Connell might soon shove his engine one side"
"I think every woman who is in this country
Should be out making babies as fast as she can
So if ever her majesty calls for an army
We'll be able to send her as many as Dan"
[I usually talk the last four words]
The story that I heard was that the song derived from a speech in which
Daniel O'Connell said that the railways, the steam engine would be the making
of the Irish nation.
The song also reminds me of Jonathan Swift's satirical "A Modest Proposal"
that Irish babies be bred as food for the English.
Mick Maloney has been mentioned as a source. Johnny McEvoy also recorded the son
g, I'm fairly certain. I originally got the words from a book of songs collected
in Canada (Helen Creighton's book probably FNS