(air: "The Growling Old Woman")

I sell the best brandy and sherry,
To make my good customers merry;
But at times their finances
Run short, as it chances
And then I feel very sad, very!

Here's brandy! Come fill up your tumbler;
Or ale if your liking be humbler;
And while you've a shilling,
Keep filling and swilling-
A fig for the growls of the grumbler!

I like, when I'm quite at my leisure,
Mirth, music and all sorts of pleasure;
When Margarey's bringing
The glass, I like singing
With bards - if they drink within measure.

Libation I pour on libation,
I sing the past fame of our nation
For valour-won glory,
For song and for story
This, this is my grand recreation!

John O'Tuomy (1706-1775)

John O'Tuomy and Andrew Magrath two of the celebrated 18th century Munster Bards, were friends and contemporaries. O'Tuomy, called "the gay" was proprietor of an ale house that had the following sign above its door:

Should one of the stock of the noble Gael
A brother bard who is fond of good cheer,
Be short of the price of a tankard of ale,
He is welcome to O'Tuomy a thousand times here!

This spirit of hospitality eventually led to bankruptcy, and O'Tuomy died in poverty. The drinking song, and Magrath's reply were written during the heyday of the hostel

Andrew Magraths Reply To John O'Tuomy

O, Tuomy! you boast yourself handy
At selling good ale and bright brandy,
But the fact is your liquor
Makes everyone sicker,
I tell you that, I, your friend Andy.

Again, you affect to be witty,
And your customers - more is the pity
give in to your folly,
While you, when you're jolly,
Troll forth some ridiculous ditty.

But your poems and pints, by your favour,
Are alike wholly wanting in flavour,
Because its your pleasure,
You give us short measure,
And your ale has a ditch-water savour!

Vile swash do you sell us for porter,
And you draw the cask shorter and shorter;
Your guests then disdaining
to think of complaining,
Go tipple in some other quarter.

Very oft in your scant over-frothing
Tin quarts we found little or nothing;
They could very ill follow
The road, who could swallow
Such stuff for the inner man's clothing!

You sit gaily enough at the table,
But in spite of your mirth you are able
To chalk down each tankard,
And if a man drank hard
On tick - oh! we'd have such a Babel!

You bow to the floors very level
When customers enter to revel,
But if one in shy raiment
Takes a drink without payment,
You score it against the poor devil.

When quitting your house rather heady,
They'll get nought without more of "the ready".
You leave them to stumble
And stagger and tumble
Into dykes as folks will when unsteady.

Two vintners late went about killing
Men's fame by their vile Jack-and-Gilling;
Now Tuomy I tell you
I know very well you
Would, too, sell us all for a shilling.

The Old Bards never vainly shall woo me,
But your tricks and your capers, O'Tuomy,
Have nought in them winning-
You jest and keep grinning,
But your thoughts are all guileful and gloomy!

Andrew Magrath (1723-179?)