MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
When Paddy Stole The Rope
Tom Cornelly NFLD 2 Tape 23 Track 8
(St. Shott's ?) Audio:
Ballad

There once was two Irishmen from Ireland came o'er
They carne across in search of work from New York down to Dover
Says Mike to Pat, "I'm tired of this. We're both left in the lurch
Be jaypers, Pat, I'll tell you what, we'll go and rob a church."

"What! Rob a church!" says Mike to Pat, "How could you be so vile?
For something bad will happen to us while in the sacred aisle
But if you do, I'll go with you. We'll get out safe, l hope."
Come, listen, and I'll tell to you how Paddy stole the rope.

We marched around from place to place and places they were wanting
Till they came across a country church that nobody was minding
They scraped together all they could and then prepared to slope
When Mickey cried, "Hold on now, Pat, what shall we do for rope."

"We have no bag to carry the swag, before we go outside
With something stout and strong, my boy, this bundle must be tied."
Oh, then he spied the belfry rope and as if 'twas an antelope(?)
He scrambled up the belfry heights to go and steal the rope.

But when he reached the belfry rope, be jaypers, then he stopped,
"To get a piece that's long enough, I must climb to the top."
Then like a sailor up he went, when near the end, said he,
I think the piece that's underneath quite long enough shall be."

So holding by one arm and leg, he took his clasp knife out
And right above his head and hands he cut the rope so stout
He little thought that it held him up by the poeers of Dr. Pope
Down to the bottom of the place fell Paddy and the rope.

Says Mike to Pat, "Get out of that," while he on the floor lay moaning
If that's the way you steal a rope, no wonder now you're groaning
I'll show you how to steal a rope, so just lend me your knife."
"Be careful," cries out Pat to Mike, "Or else you'll lose your life."

Mick scrambled up the other rope and being an artful thief
But instead of cutting it above, he cut it underneath
The piece fell down and he was left to hang up there and mope
"Bad luck," says he, "Unto the day when l comes stealing rope."

Whist Paddy on the floor did lie and Mickey hung on high
"Come down," says Pat. "l can't," says Mike, "For if l die I'll die."
The noise soon fetched the sexton 'round, the parson and police.
Although they set poor Mickey free, the pair got no release.

They took them to a station and conduct in a room
And if they had nothing before they got plenty now to do
And for their ingenuity we'll give them a smaller scope
But Paddy'll ne'er forget the day when he went to steal a rope.

(Speaks) You never hear that? You didn't.


Notes


Sources: Folktracks FSB 036 ("Down at Old Blaxhall Ship"); Baring-Gould Vol. 2, No. 105.

History: Found in Newfoundland & England. The oldest verifiable version is the Leach version from Newfoundland (1951).

Text: Two young men (Mike & Pat again) from Ireland come in search of work from New York to Dover. They tire of working and decide to rob a church. They gather up everything in the church, but find themselves without a rope.They decide to steal the belfrey rope. Paddy tries to steal the rope, but falls from the top of the steeple. Mike cuts the rope that leads to the bottom of the steeple and is left hanging from the top of the belfrey. Eeventually the parson and the police come and arrest them. They put them to work in jail. They receive a light sentence due to their "ingenuity."

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