Minnie Picken, song

Eddie Butcher, singing in English
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A ring deedle lil de deedle   lil de deedle lal de deedle
Ring deedle lil de dum   de doodle um de dy dee.
Ring deedle lil de dum    dathery aydle lil de dum
Diddle lal de deedle um   dum de doodle ay dee.
Ring deedle lil de dum    doora lil de daddle um
Dithery aydle dil de dum    doodle lil de day dee.
Ring deedle lil de dum   diddle um de deedle um
Ty rydle lil de dum   lil de deedle ly do.

Minnie Picken on the shore
Gathering winkles off Culmore
Turned around and give a roar,
– What the divil ails ye?

A ring deedle lil de dum   dithery um de doodle um
Ring deedle lil de dum   doodle lil de da dee.

Jane McNeill’s in love with me
And I’m as happy as I can be,
How would you like if you were me?

Fal de deedle di do.

Jane she’s neat and Jane she’s fat,
She wears her hair beneath her hat,
What do you think about that?

Fal de deedle di do.

Ty reedle lil de dum   de dy deedle lil de dum
Tithery aydle lil de dum   dowdle lil de dy dee, &c.


Such light verses associated with lilt are barely more meaningful than the syllabic patter of their context: see p. 24. ‘Minnie Picken’ was well known in Ulster as a dance tune, though unlikely to have been ‘cribbed by the Scotch between the years 1715 and 1740 and adapted to an indelicate song called “Whistle o’er the lave of it” ’ – W. Grattan Flood History of Irish music Dublin 1913 (1st ed. 1905) p. 261–2. More likely the tune, with some form of the text, travelled from Scotland to Ulster. A Scots rhyme sung to it features ‘Beagle Brodie’ in a role similar to Maggie’s and he is probably a reincarnation of the ‘Katie Bardie’ whose tune was noted in a Scots MS in 1620 and who is still sung by Scottish children: Collinson p. 155; SSS:SA 1960 137/B (16), SA 1967/140.