danny boy

Bath, Somerset 1912: Frederic Weatherly a prolific English lyricist and lawyer mulls over the notated copy of sheet music for the melody ‘Londonderry Air’ sent to him by his Irish born sister-in-law Jess now residing in the United States.  Enchanted by the tune he determines to write the perfect lyric……indeed a lyric that will do it justice and stand the test of time.  Just one problem though! You see Frederic is totally bolloxed as to how to finish that all important first line! We find him in the lounge of his Georgian home with wife Maude at his side. 

“Darling Maude you know I am quite flummoxed as to how to get beyond the first line of the lyric I intend to write for this priceless piece of music young Jess has sent over from the States.” 


“God woman you have the memory of a goldfish……Jess my dear, Jess the Irish bint…….married to my brother………remember her now?” 

“Oh yes Frederic, she’s the bog Irish girl………we attended the occasion of her wedding, I recall her now.  Anyway what’s all this about a lyric you’re stuck on?  Maybe I shall be able to afford you some assistance?” 

“Well I want the song to be a message from a parent to a son going off to war or leaving as part of the Irish diaspora. A sad, mournful ballad the like of which the Irish sing when the worse for drink and often shed inexplicable tears too really.  Already I have a title ‘Danny Boy’ – rather pleased with that I must say – and additionally I have the crucial first line save for just the last word.” 

“Pray tell me Freddie what have you got thus far?” 

“Promise not to laugh but I have, ‘Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are…….’ Then that’s it; bloody writer’s block. Bollocks.” 

“No need for foul language Freddie. Regardless I do believe I can be of assistance. You see you talk of pipes so the line should objectively read, ‘Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are stolen because thieves have purloined them as they are made of lead and therefore are of considerable value on the black market.’   There that wasn’t very hard was it?” 

“Jolly good try Maude I agree yet that is far too long you see I’m looking for just the one word with two syllables so as to fit the meter of the song and the multiplicity of syllables you propose does not sit comfortably one iota.” 

“Botheration for my plan B in case you did not like my initial stab was to be ‘……the pipes, the pipes are bunged up’ yet that is two words albeit spot on on the syllable front.  Crumbs what a to-do. I’ll have to have another think……….right I’ve got it……….a belter of a last word in my book………… ‘the pipes, the pipes are frozen.’ See Freddie one word, two syllables and in context as pipes often freeze in winter time.” 

“Sorry Maude I’m afraid it still is not doing it for me. Whatever, I feel a ‘calling’ about my bladder and must therefore pop off to the little boy’s room for a jimmy riddle before I piss myself. I’ll be back in a jiffy.  Perhaps all will become clear when this ‘calling’ has been dealt with.”



    1. A pub crawl – I remember those very well. The ‘who could drink the most pints pre a visit to the gents’ was – shamefully looking back – a much favoured game as we went from pub to pub on old London town.

      1. Sorry for the mistake. I actually did a search of my emails to make sure I was getting it write but by the time I went to write the comment, I had lost the search and i was too lazy to go through the whole process again. Anyway, yes, hoping to hear more out of Johnny myself.

  1. My mum used to sing this to me down the phone when I was in prison.
    “Give it a rest fer gawd’s sake ma!” I used to yell. “Don’t you think I’ve suffered enough?”

    PS. Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been 3 years since my last lame, irritating, time consuming, “WordPress Family” comment…

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