The Star of Sunday’s Well

A clever satire song performed by Máirtín de Cógáin. I also like (non-traditional) use of the shruti box for a drone. Just invested in one myself after hearing a couple of recordings with one. Here’s some background on the song found over at the Mudcat Café.

This song adequately thumbs it’s nose at the purveyors of all those stories which portray the Irish as a race of semi-literate inarticulate numbskulls. Undoubtedly written with tongue-in-cheek by W.B. Guiney, it appeared in the Cork Examiner in 1871. It is a masterpiece of rhetoric and abounds with flowery language, a legacy of the post-Penal Law ‘Hedge School’ classics teaching which often accompanied the ubiquitous ‘three R’s’ I first heard it sung by singer John Gregson a specialist in comic songs, in a Warrington folk club. The action takes place in Cork city, and this must surely be the most eloquent put-down of amorous intent one is likely to hear!

The Star of Sunday’s Well

Ye damsels of Castalia, Melpomene and Thalia,
Extenuate an alien that languishes in woe,
Dan Cupid has surprised me, waylaid and pauperised me,
Why thus he martyrised me, is what I wish to know.
Exiled in this fair city, a paragon of pity,
I lucubrate my ditty and catalogue to tell
Of the beauties of that matron, my connoisseur and patron,
That consort fit for Satan, the Star of Sunday’s Well.

Expressly fabricated for to be venerated
Her weight is estimated at fully fifteen stone,
The undulating ocean recalls her vagrant motion,
Magnanimous devotion I render her alone.
She’s blooming and she’s bonny with real estate and money,
A floweret filled with honey in a soft suburban dell,
And I the bee go soaring around her bower adoring
The beauty and the store of the Star of Sunday’s Well.

This matron subsidises both Beamish’s and Wise’s,
The viands that she prizes provide most comely fare,
I wish I could administer a modicum of Guinness t’her,
For there is nothing sinister or medieval there.
Her heart I would allure it but that a grocer’s curate
Is planning to secure it by artifices fell,
I’ve given hints abundant to that obscure incumbent
To flutter less redundant round the Star of Sunday’s Well.

All through the summer weather, two lovers linked together,
Patrolled Marina’s heather or strolled along the Dyke;
The blackbirds and the thrushes established in the bushes
Their elegies in gushes propelled to Kerry Pike.
I hear their jocund royster and sighed as for his cloister
The quaint but fulsome oyster, like a hermit in his cell,
I lacked reciprocation in this matron’s cognition,
For I got a harsh negation from the Star of Sunday’s Well.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s