Category Archives: popular culture

Racy Tune from the 18th Century – Oh MYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 1.27.12 PMRecently, I spoke with archeologist and historian Damian Shiels for the Rogue Historian podcast. We had a great talk – mostly about Irish immigration in the 19th century and about Irish in the American Civil War. Good stuff. But something came up when we were discussing odd things one might find in the archives. Damian mentioned a previously unpublished song that was loaded with – shall we say – bawdy lyrics.

I asked to publish the song here…how could I resist. Read if you will…and try not to blush…just watch out for the Shilealy.

‘A New Song’

Murtagh O’Blany & Jenny O’Donely

Both went together to thresh in the barn

He laid her down and her so bonnily

Arra says he but I’ll do you no harm

O but says Jenny I fear you’ll be In me

And what if I am I’ll do you no harm

O Murtagh be easy I faint

Be quiet my Jewel my door

For by St. Patrick our Saint

I’ll give you no reason to fear

Then with a look so engaging and gently

He to her bosom his hand did apply

Both her snowy mountains he tousled so daintily

That with her passion caused many a sigh

O But says Jenny I fear you’ll be in me

By Jesus says he if I don’t I shall die

O’ Murtagh be easy I pray

Do prithy be gone from my sight

By Jesus my virtue’l give way

I’m lost in a flood of delight

He then beholding her eyelids thus quivering

Scarcely from pity his heart could refrain

Fearing to anger her he stood a wavering

But was resolved to attack her again

Then Mr. Blaney pulled out his Shilealy

A weapon he ne’er show’d a woman In vain

Staring she lift up her eyes

And gently she rear’d up her head

What is it O Murtagh she cries

That looms so stately and red

Sweet one says Murtagh I’ll show you the use of it

Gently fall backwards your legs open wide

No girl in Munster to big it as you so fitt

It with your hand you’d vouchsafe it to guide

Then Miss O’Donnely strok’d it so bonnily

Arrah says she but I’ll down with your pride

Then closing with eager embrace

They soon reach’d the end of their joy

Jenny now alter’d her gaze

No longer was she squeamish and Coy

With sweet raptures and soft dying murmurings

Lifeless they lay as it was in a trance

Eager he drove but could drive it no further in

Jenny had shiver’d the lance

Oh what’s that says Jenny

Felt so warm in me

That makes all my bowels to prance

‘Tis loves luscious Balsom my dear

Says Murtagh the tulip of life

A cordial that banishes care

Curd cures the worst scold of a wife’

Wow. Original available at

National Library of Ireland MS. 3240: ‘Notebook of an Irish Ensign Gilbert King serving with the British Forces in Canada & Containing Personal Accounts, Copies of letters & two songs, 1761-68.’

 

With compliments,

Keith

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d love to be a Civil War buff…what do you have to do to be a buff?

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 9.25.57 AMJerry Seinfeld? Keith Hernandez? What do they have to do with the Civil War? Well…in a very popular episode of Seinfeld – you know the one…where Jerry sort of gets a man-crush on Keith Hernandez…there is a little dialog between Jerry and George that comes close to my corner of the world. It goes like this:

JERRY: You know who that is? That’s Keith Hernandez.

GEORGE: Keith Hernandez? The baseball player?

JERRY: Yeah, that’s him.

GEORGE: Are you sure?

JERRY: Positive.

GEORGE: Wow, Keith Hernandez. He’s such a great player.

JERRY: Yeah, he’s a real smart guy too. He’s a Civil War buff.

GEORGE: I’d love to be a Civil War buff. … What do you have to do to be a buff?

JERRY: So Biff wants to be a buff? … Well sleeping less than 18 hours a day would be a start.

Yes…Jerry’s right about that. Being a buff is hard work. Among things like an encyclopedic knowledge of uniforms, accoutrements, and the various and sundry soldierly minutiae, it helps to know command (at least down to the regiment level) and of course…you need to know the battles cold. I have to say…I love it when popular culture and Civil War history intersect. It makes me smile. And  I’ll bet you a buck that book sales on the Civil War picked up a bit after this show aired back in 199something.

But Hernandez aside, lots of academics (not all, mind you, but lots) sort of look down on buffs. They think of them as all “drums and bugles” and no substance. They (some suggest) don’t delve into issues…they don’t read all the important scholarship…they dismiss complexity.

I say lighten up a little. Civil War buffs keep interest in this historical period alive. Buffs do buy books (including mine…YAY!), they watch TV shows about history and yes indeed…they (thankfully) follow my Tweets and comment on my Facebook posts.

I love buffs. Without them, I might not have an audience at all (or at least a much smaller one). So, Mr. Hernandez – I salute you and all like you who find the Civil War fascinating above all else. We are one and the same. If you ever want to talk – just hit me up. And not incidentally, this July 2-4, I’ll be in Gettysburg signing books and talking to buffs galore. I look forward to it 🙂

With compliments,

Keith (scholar/buff)

Join the Klub!

FullSizeRenderWhoops! It looks like the good folks at Krispy Kreme  in Hull, East Yorkshire, England didn’t think this promo through. Unless of course they were hoping for a hooded, and perhaps cross-burning clientele. While the company has apologized for advertising the Krispy Kreme Klub – or rather KKK Wednesday – you might want to avoid the establishment on that day in February…just to be safe.

With compliments,

Keith

What if…What if…What if?

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 8.13.40 AMImagine the possibilities…

Of course you know by now that the “what if” questions drive me nuts, particularly the well-worn: what if Stonewall had lived to fight at Gettysburg.

But I have to confess that I am really taking to these entirely anachronistic images popping up here and there featuring soldiers from one era pictured with soldiers/equipment from another. There is even a series going around with Star Wars gear paired with real images from WWII. It’s just plain fun.

Well I suppose the boys in gray would have made good use out of some mechanized armor. Ahhhh….what if…

With compliments,

Keith