MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Morrissey and the Black
Alexander March NFLD 1 Tape 15A Track 1
Port au Port Audio:
Ballad / boxing match Laws H19

Male voice: (speaks) Eh?

Leach: Would you rather stand?

Oh no, alright now yeah

Female voice: That's oh this one, I see you're doing the same thing

Come all you true brave Irish boys come listen to me
I will sing you the praises of John Morrissey
That lately was challenged for ten thousand pounds
To fight Sandy Black of Millberry town

On the eighteenth of March a large fight to behold
Where a thousand assembled with silver and gold
And twenty-to-one was the bet on Black's head
That Morrissey the Irishman would be killed dead

At six in the morning the fight to begin
Stripped off to the buff and jumped into the ring
"Come lay down your belt," the Black he did say
"Or your life I will take in the ring on this day."

Morrissey jumped in the ring like a bear
Saying, "Here stands the bones of an Irishman here
That was not yet conquered by black white or brown
Well known to his country and Irish all round."

The first second and third round the Irish did cry
"Success to the country that reared you my boy
Twas neither for bravery your country is known
This day what I'm worth I will bet on your bones."

The fourth fifth and sixth rounds and up to the tenth
When Morrissey received seven blows on the belt
And up to the fourteenth similarly knocked down
And the blood from his ears as he lay on the ground

The twenty-third round the Black carries a grin
When Morrissey he broke his left thumb on the ground
The blood from his ears did run down his back
The foreigners all thought he would be killed by the Black

At the twenty-fourth round it was ended in style
When Morrissey turned to the Irish and smiled
Coming down on the Black with a mightyful stroke
They left him for dead with five of his limbs broke

Here's a health to John Morrissey the Hero has fame
He has conquered the bruisers far over the main
He's a true brave Irish boy that never was put down
He belongs to Tipperary and Tempermore town


Sources: Mercer 157; Laws H19; Ives 1989: 30; Ives 1999: 186.

History: For more on John Morrisey, the popular Irish street brawler who earned the American heavyweight title in 1858, see the notes to Alexander March's "Morrissey and the Russian Sailor"

Text notes: The singer describes a match between John Morrisey and Sandy Black.

Tune notes: Sung freely in 6/8 metre. A mixolydian tune (but with some variation in the intonation of the seventh) in abcd form.

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