MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Twins
Cyril O'Brien NFLD 2 Tape 10A Track 5
Trepassey Audio:
Comic Song

When first I came to this world
Me b'ys, me trouble to begin
I had a little brother John
To me he was a twin.

Oh, Johnny was born bow-legged
And inclined to be a crook
One night upon the street he stole
A lady's pocketbook.

I had chanced to be passing by
When Johnny escaped and ran
The policemen therefore picked me up
And said, "You are the man."

The policemen therefore picked me up
And to the jail they took
He said, "You robbed a lady"
And she then described my look.

l said, "It must be brother John
We look like one another."
The judge said, "I’ll give you six months
For looking like your brother."

Oh, Johnny came home one night, was drunk
And jumped into the bed
He thought he turned the gaslight off
He blew it out instead.

Next morning they were calling John
No sound from him was heard
The door was locked, they broke it in
He lay dead on the floor.

Next day they held a burial
And put him on a hearse
And carried him to the burial ground
His body to disperse.

They drove so fast the corpse fell off
They did not miss him gone
But when they reached the burial ground
There stood his brother Tom.

The undertaker picked him up, saying,
"Johnny, you must be ill
You know you're dead, you must not kick
You must go in the grave."

They nailed me up into the box
I hollered and bawled for mother
But she could not take it apart
I was buried for my brother.


Notes


Text: A comic song. One twin is convicted for the other twin’s crimes. Subsequently, the second twin dies from leaving the gas on and his body is lost on the way to the cemetery. The first, still living, twin is then buried in place of his brother.

Tune: The text is through composed and the melody repeats with each verse. The last phrase is spoken. Speaking, instead of singing, a final word or phrase is generally thought to indicate Irish influence on the singer or song. The meter is 2/4 and in the mode of G Mixolydian with an accidental B-flat. The range is a major 9th from C to D.

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