Waxies' Dargle, The
DESCRIPTION: "Says my aul' one to your aul' one, Will ye come to the Waxies' Dargle?" The hearer hasn't a farthing to take a trip. Neither can they go to the Galway races. They agree, "When food is scarce, And you see the hearse, You'll know you died of hunger."
EARLIEST DATE: 1973 (Behan)
KEYWORDS: food travel hardtimes poverty
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Behan, #95, "The Waxie's Dargle" (1 text, 1 tune, modified)
cf. "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (II - lyric) (tune)
cf. "Brighton Camp" (tune)
NOTES [107 words]: Waxies were candlemakers (or, according to Robert Gogan, 130 Great Irish Ballads [third edition, Music Ireland, 2004], p.105, people who waxed bootlaces). Soodlum's Irish Ballad Book declares that the Waxies' Dargle was an annual meeting of candlemakers held in Bray in County Wicklow. Gogan, however, declares that the poor waxies could not afford a visit to such a posh place, and so went instead to a beach in Dublin.
The versions I've seen don't make it clear why times are so hard in this song; it doesn't sound like a famine song. I suspect its survival has much to do with being fitted to the much-loved tune "Brighton Camp." - RBW
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