Do as They Do in France

DESCRIPTION: The singer's step-mother told him as a child, "do as they do in France." Even now, when he needs shoes, or bread, she says "do as they do in France." A friend explains that means "do without." So he joins the navy. "Boys, do as Britons do"
AUTHOR: William Ball (source: Moylan)
EARLIEST DATE: "shortly after 1798" (according to Moylan)
KEYWORDS: France patriotic hardtimes poverty navy
FOUND IN:
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Moylan 21, "Do as They Do in France" (1 text)
NOTES: The inference is that we should ignore those who would overthrow the king "as they do in France."
Moylan: Ball is a Dublin loyalist. "The tenor of all his songs is that of an ordinary Irish citizen, loyal to the established order." - BS
The comment that doing as they do in France meaning doing without is of course dead-on accurate: Marie-Antoinette's foolish "Let them eat cake" comment was in response to a report that the peasants had no bread (they had been taxed almost to death to pay for the American war), and the sans-culottes were not so called because they were rich!
In a sad irony, the Irish would eventually do as they did in France, in cutting their relations with the British monarch -- after which they followed the worst part of the French model: They killed their first real head of state, Michael Collins, and engaged in a civil war over who would rule the country and how.
William Ball was a writer of humorous verse about Irish history; in this index, see "Cockledemoy (The French Invasion)," "Do as They Do in France," "The Dying Rebel," "Faithless Boney (The Croppies' Complaint)" -- though he doesn't seem to have made much impression on the wider world of literature; I have been unable to find any of his writings in any of my literary references. - RBW
File: Moyl021

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.