MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Morrissey and the Russian Sailor
Alexander March NFLD 1 Tape 15 Track 6
Port au Port Audio:
Ballad / boxing match Laws H18

Come all you lads of Erin your attention I do crave
Whilst I relate the praises of an Irish Hero brave
Concerning of that great fight which took place the other day
Between a Russian sailor and the gallant Morrissey

Twas in Terra Del Fuego in the south of Americay
The Russian meet the champion those words to him did say
"You are an Irish hero brave you wears the belt I see
What do you think if you'd consent and have a round with me?"

Then up speaks brave Morrissey with a heart both stout and true
"Yes I am an Irishman that never was subdued
And I can lick those Yankees and you saucy beggar bear
In honour of old Paddy's land it's the laurel I do wear."

To fight all on the tenth of March those champions did agree
And people came from every port this battle for to see
And fifty thousand dollars as you may plainly see
Was to be the bold champion's prize who would gain the victory

They both shook hands walked round the ring most gallant to be seen
When Morrissey put on the belt bound round with shamrock green
They both shook bands walked round the ring and then began to fight
Twould thrill the heart of an Irish lad for to behold the sight

The Russian flew at Morrissey up to the eleventh round
The Yankees and the Russians cheered the valley did resound
The Yankees and the Russians cheered their hearts were full of glee
They were pretty sure their bully boy would gain the victory

From that up to the twenty-second twas fall for fall about
Which caused those foreign tyrants to keep a sharp lookout
When the Russian called his second for to give him a glass of wine
Our hero smiled and then replied, "The battle is surely mine."

The twenty-ninth decided all the Russian felt a smart
With a terrible blow from Morrissey which reached him to the heart
The doctors they were called upon to bleed him in the vein
But they said it is quite useless he will never fight again


Sources: Sources: Mercer 157; Laws H18; Leach 114; Roud 2150.

History: John Morissey (1831-1878) was an Irish boxer, a famous prizefighter in bare knuckles boxing, raised in the U.S. While he defeats a Russian in this song, he similarly fights others in various fictionalized accounts of his skill (see 15A/1). The oldest version of "Morrissey and the Russian" is an Irish broadside by P. Brereton of Dublin from 1860.

Text notes: The singer relates a long match between Morrisey and a Russian sailor. Alexander March continues the exploits of Morrissey in his next recorded song, "Morrissey and the Black."

Tune notes: 6/8 metre; abbc form.

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