Lend Me an Ear – Lyrics


traditional Australian – arranged by Mark Gilston © Copyright 2005

I was traveling with my sheep, all me mates were fast asleep;
No moon or stars were shining in the sky,
I was drowsing, I suppose, but me eyes had hardly closed
When a very strange procession passed me by.
First there came a kangaroo with his swag of blankets blue
He had with him a dingo for a mate;
They were traveling pretty fast, but they waved to me as they passed,
And said “We’ve got to be pushing on, it’s getting late.”

Then frogs from out the swamp where the atmosphere is damp
Came in and gingerly sat upon the stones;
They unrolled their little swags and pulled from their diddly bags
A violin, a banjo and the bones.

Then the little bandicoot played a tune upon his flute
Three koala bears came down and formed a ring.

Then the pelican and the crane, flew in from out the plain,
And amused the company with the Highland Fling.

The parrots green and blue sand “Bold Jack Donahue”.
The frilly lizard waltzed round with a smile;
Then from out the old she-oak, the laughing jack-ass spoke;
“And it’s spare me happy days, they run a mile.”
Oh the emu standing near with his claw up to his ear,
Sang “Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep”.
I was underneath me cart, the boss he woke me with a start,
Saying,” Clancy, where the hell are the flaming sheep?”


traditional Australian – written by Duke Tritton – arranged by Mark Gilston © Copyright 2005

Now my shearing days are over, though I never was a gun
I could always count my twenty at the end of every run
I used the old Trade Union shears, and the blades were always full
As I drove ’em to the knockers, and I clipped away the wool
I shore at Goorianawa and didn’t get the sack
From Breeza out to Compadore, I always could go back
And though I am a truthful man, I find when in a bar
My tallies seem to double, but I never call for tar

Shearing on the western plains where the fleece is full of sand
And the clover burr and corkscrew grass, is the place to try your hand
For the sheep are tough and wiry where they feed on the Mitchell grass
And every second one of them is close to the cobbler class
And a pen chock full of cobblers is a shearers dream of hell
So loud and lurid are their words when they catch one on the bell
But when we’re pouring down the grog, you’ll have no call for tar
For a shearer never cuts ’em, when shearing in a bar

At Louth I caught the bell sheep, a wrinkled, tough wooled brute
Who never stopped his kicking till I tossed him down the chute
My wrist was aching badly, but I fought him all the way
I couldn’t afford to miss a blow, I must earn my pound a day
So when I’d take a strip of skin, I’d hide it with my knee
Turn the sheep around a bit where the right bower couldn’t see
Then try and catch the rousie’s eye and softly whisper “tar”
But it never seems to happen when I’m shearing in the bar

I shore away the belly wool and trimmed the crutch and hocks
I opened up along the neck while the rousie swept the locks
Then smartly swung the sheep around and dumped him on his rear
Two blows to clip away the wig – I also took an ear
Then down around the shoulder and the blades were open wide
As I drove ’em on the long blow and down the whipping side
And when the fleece fell on the board, he was nearly black with tar
But this is never mentioned when I’m shearing in a bar

Now when the season’s ended and my grandsons all come back
In their buggies and their sulkies -I was always on the track
They come and take me into town to fill me up with beer
And I sit on a corner stool and listen to them shear
There’s not a bit of difference – it must make the angels weep
To hear a mob of shearers in a barroom shearing sheep
For the sheep go rattling down the race with never a call for tar
For a shearer never cuts ’em when he’s shearing in a bar

Then memories come a crowding and they wipe away the years
And my hand begins to tighten and I seem to feel the shears
I want to tell them of the sheds, the sheds where I have shorn
Full fifty years and sometimes more, before these boys were born
I want to speak of Yarragin, Dunlop or Wingadee
But the beer has started working and I’m wobbling at the knees
So I’d better not start shearing, I’d be bound to call for tar
Then be treated as a blackleg when I’m shearing in a bar.


traditional American – arranged by Mark Gilston © Copyright 2005

(Learned from my father, Richard Eugene Gilston who learned it from Ralph Tefertello at the Tennessee Highland School some time in the 1930’s.)

I woke up this morning and started to plough
Tee roo, tee roo, started to plough,
With sixteen old oxen, and a danged old cow.
Tee roo, tee roo, and a danged old cow.

Up jumps the devil, says, “How do you do?”
There’s one of your family, I’ll sure take away.”

“Oh, please do not take my eldest son,”
For there’s work on the farm, and it’s got to be done.”

“It’s all I want is that old wife of yourn.”
“Well you can have her with all of my heart.”

So the devil he hoisted her up in his pack,
And off to hell he went clickety-clack.

Now the devil he stopped in the fork of the road.
He said, “Man, old woman, you’re a devil of a load.”

The next time he stopped was at the gates of hell.
He said, “Stoke up the coals boys and we’ll scorch her well.”

Come nine little devils a-dragging their chains,
Well she ups with her foot, and she kicks out their brains.

Five more little devils come a-climbing up the wall;
They said, “Take her back daddy, she’ll murder us all.”

I was peeping through a crack,
And I spied the old devil, a-dragging her back.

He said, “I’ve been a devil for most of my life,
But I never knew hell ‘til I met with your wife.

That just goes to show you what a woman can do.
She can whup out the devil, and her husband, too.


traditional (arranged by Josef Marais) – arranged by Mark Gilston © Copyright 2005

Freddie Wilson had a cat that he didn’t want to keep,
He offered it for free, and he tried to sell it cheap.
He called upon the preacher to ask for his advice,
The preacher said just leave him here, for it would be
so nice —


But the cat came back, he wouldn’t stay away,
He was sitting on the porch on the very next day;
The cat came back, he didn’t want to roam,
The very next day it was home sweet home.

They put the cat on board with a man in a balloon,
To give the cat away to the man up in the moon,
The balloon it didn’t rise, it burst in bits instead,
Ane ten miles from the spot they found the man stone dead —

The cat got on a ship that was headed for Ceylon,
The ship was overloaded, more than twenty thousand ton;
Not far away from shore that cargo ship went down
There was no doubt about it, everybody drowned —

Freddie Wilson took his gun and he hid behind a bush,
In the barrel of his gun lead and powder he did push.
He aimed it where he thought the cat would appear;
The next day all they found was Freddie own right ear —

The cat sat on the porch and he ate a piece of cheese,
An Irishman came by, he was feeling well at ease.
The cat he was a-smiling, for he was fully fed;
The Irishman sang “Britannia!” and the cat fell dead —

Last Chorus:

But his ghost came back, he wouldn’t stay away,
He was sitting on the porch on the very next day.
His ghost came back, he didn’t want to roam,
He haunted Freddie’s ghost in his home sweet home.


traditional French – arranged by Mark Gilston © Copyright 2005

Martin prit sa hache et au bois s’en alla,
Faisait si grand froid que le nez lui gela.

Ah, quel dommage, quel dommage Martin,
Martin quel dommage!

Martin prit sa hache et son nez il coupa,
Au pied d’un grand chêne, il le planta là;

Au pied d’un grand chêne, il le planta là;
Par ici passèrent trois moines à cheval.

Par ici passèrent trois moines à cheval.
Le premier, il dit, “Qu’est-ce donc que je vois là?”

Le premier, il dit, “Qu’est-ce donc que je vois là?”
Le second, il dit, “C’est un nez que voilà.”

Le second, il dit, “C’est un nez que voilà.”
Le troisième il dit, “Cela nous servira.”

Le troisième il dit, “Cela nous servira,
A éteindre les cierges à Magnificat.”


traditional English – arranged by Mark Gilston © Copyright 2005

There was a fair lady in London did dwell,
For style and for beauty no one could excel,
And she had a husband who loved her right well,
And her husband, he was a bold trooper.

refrain: Ti in the Ti – I

Ta loo rum ta lie,

(repeat last line of verse)

There was a young tailor who lived there close by,
And on this fair lady he casted his eye;
He swore he would have her, or else he would die,
For he did not admire the bold trooper.

The tailor, he came awhile after ‘twas night
To seize on his jewel, his own heart’s delight,
Saying, “Ten guineas I’ll give to lie with you tonight,
For I hear that your husband’s on duty.”

“Oh yes, little tailor, you’ve guessed very right,
My husband’s on duty, oh, this very night;
But if he comes home, he’d give us a great fright,
For you know that my husband’s a trooper,”

So the bargain was made and to bed they did run,
They hadn’t been there long before fun had begun;
The fun being over, sleep swiftly did come,
And they had no more thoughts of the trooper.

The trooper came in the midst of the night,
He rapped on the door, which gave them a great fright;
“Oh hide me, oh hide me, my sweet heart’s delight,
For I hear the bold knock of the trooper!”

“There’s a three-cornered cupboard behind the old door,
I’ll hide you in that, you’ll be safe and secure;
Then I will go down and I’ll open the door
And I’ll let in my husband, the trooper.”

She tripped down the stairs and she made a great din.
With compliments and kisses she welcomed him in;
“But for compliments and kisses I care not a pin:
Come light me a fire!” said the trooper.

“The fire is all out, and there’s no fire stuff,
So come to bed, darling, you’ll be warm enough!”
“There’s a three-cornered cupboard, it’s old and it’s rough,
And I’ll burn it this night,” cried the trooper.

Oh husband, dear husband, it’s not my desire,
for to burn a good cupboard to light you a fire,
For in it I keep a game-cock, I admire.”
“I’ll see your game-cock,” cried the trooper.

So he went to the cupboard, he opened the door:
And there sat the tailor all “safe and secure!”
Grabbed the nape of his neck, yanked him out on the floor,
”Is this your game-cock?” said the trooper!

He kicked and he cuffed him, and beat him severe;
With his own pair of shears he cut off his right ear –
“Now for this night’s lodging you’ve paid very dear!”
And away ran the poor cropped tailor.


by Frank Luther (1928) – arranged by Mark Gilston © Copyright 2005

Do you want your girl to love you? Do you want to be her beau?
Well I’ll tell you how to do it, boys, I’ll tell you all I know.
Put on your bib and tucker, and scrub your face real hard.
Part your hair right down the middle, boys, and slick it down with lard.

Put your derby hat on sideways. Pull your pegged up pants up short.
Get a big bow-tie on a rubber band, and show her you’re a sport.
Get yourself some drug-store perfume, and sprinkle it on your clothes;
Just a dimes worth will be plenty boys to tickle her little nose.

Grease your buggy and your harness, and curry your trottin’ mare,
Then buy yourself a lasso, boys, and get you a lady fair.  (The original lyric was “Then buy a pretty lap robe, boys and get you a lady fair.”)
Tie a ribbon on your buggy whip. Buy a pair of yellow gloves;
Then take her to the county fair, and buy her what she loves.

Tell her she is prettier than a movie act-er-ess.
Talk about her pretty curls, and admire her handsome dress.
Get yourself a gold front tooth. Buy a Sears and a Roebuck ring.
Get a double note harmonica, and learn to play and sing.

Brag about her family: her granddad and her pap;
And before you know it you’ll be a-settin’ on her lap.
Tell her she’s so pretty, she takes away your breath;
And before you know it she’s a huggin’ you to death.

But if she will not love you; just make her jealous then.
Tell her you love somebody else; that she is just a friend.
Take her out to the dances, and flirt with the other girls:
Hug ‘em close, and whisper soft, and give ‘em all a whirl.

Laugh out loud with the others, but with your girl don’t you speak;
And when she comes around you boys, just turn from her your cheek.
Just follow these directions, and she will be your wife:
Or else she’ll marry somebody else, and hate you all her life!


traditional French – translation by Josef Marais – arranged by Mark Gilston © Copyright 2005

I’m courting my Perrine.
A pretty girl is she, tee-lee-lee.
If she will but agree;
Her husband I will be, tee-lee-lee.
She promised me to get rid of every
Other cavalier;
And I am so in love,
I think she is sincere.

Each afternoon at three,
I call on her for tea, tee-lee-lee.
At six she offers me
Her deep apology.
I roam the streets, my heart full of fire,
For that sweet, fickle, maid;
For I know well enough,
She’s on an escapade.

I called on my Perrine;
The girl that I adore, tol-lol-lor.
She had a visitor,
And pushed me through a door, tol-lol-lor.
I squeezed into a closet so narrow.
A mouse bit at my shoe.
I waited while Perrine
Was bidding her adieu.

One mouse bit at my toe.
One nibbled at my knee, tee-lee-lee.
The closet door was locked.
Perrine she had the key, tee-lee-lee.
A man in love will do stupid things,
I sat there for a year.
The mice, they chewed and chewed,
And only left an ear.


traditional Bulgarian – translation by Hristo Alexiev – arranged by Mark Gilston © Copyright 2005

Snoshti si doyde ludoto mlado Last night a foolish young man came
Dalek ot pechalba. From work in a far country.
Snoshti si doyde konya si stega Last night a he came and readied his horse
Pak da si bega. For travel.
Snoshti si doyde konya si stega
Pak da si bega.

Mladoto mome s tsәrnite ochi The young dark eyed maiden
Na nego govori. Spoke to him:
Aman bre libe, nemoy bre libe Oh my love, why my love
Pa da si begash. Must you leave?
Aman bre libe, nemoy bre libe
Pa da si begash.

Ka ke pominesh Nevrokopsko Pole How will you pass through Nevrokopsko Field
Pәlno s ovchari: Amongst the shepherds?
Lesno ke minam, kaval ke sviram, It is easy. I’ll play my flute
Pesna ke peyam. And sing my song.
Lesno ke minam, kaval ke sviram,
Pesna ke peyam.

Ka ke pominesh Pirin Planino How will you pass through the Pirin Mountains
Pәlna s haidutsi: Amongst the bandits?
Lesno ke minam, konya ke yavam, It is easy. I’ll ride my horse
Pusha ke pukam. And shoot my gun.
Lesno ke minam, konya ke yavam,
Pusha ke pukam.


traditional Bulgarian – translation by Hristo Alexiev – arranged by Mark Gilston © Copyright 2005

Kakvo e chudo, Patme, What a wonder has happened
Kakvo e chudo,
Kakvo e chudo, golyamo stanalo. what a huge wonder
Kakvo e chudo, golyamo stanalo.

Khem vav Nevrokopsko, Patme, It happened in Nevrokopsko
Khem vav Nevrokopsko,
Khem vav Nevrokopsko, glәbnata charshiya. in the market place
Khem vav Nevrokopsko, glәbnata charshiya.

Balabaram biye, Patme, Drums beat,
Balabaram biye,
Balabaram biye, proto Geroruka. from the land of the infidels
Balabaram biye, proto Geroruka.

Pustite Krementsi, Patme, The accursed Crimeans
Pustite Krementsi,
Pustite Krementsi, stanali Moskovsti. became Moscovites
Pustite Krementsi, stanali Moskovsti.

Serdes Obidimsti, Patme The severe Obidim (from the Caucuses)
Serdes Obidimsti,
Serdes Obidimsti, Donski Kazatsi. became Don Cossacks
Serdes Obidimsti, Donski Kazatsi.

ON THAT DAY traditional American (Pennsylvania) – arranged by Mark Gilston © Copyright 2005