Ben Hur, song / Con Fada Ó Drisceoil, singing in English

Section: Videos
Tagged: Donegal, Cork, Inishowen Song Project

You may chatter and sing of Mackey and Ring and the greats of the hurling game
Of athletes bold who compete for gold and footballers of great fame
Of horses like Arkle who galloped and sparkled and followers' hearts did stir
But the charioteer who knew no fear was the driver they called Ben Hur.

In his youth he was a force at water sports at Olympus he swam for Rome
He excelled at rowing with a style so flowing his boat skimmed across the foam
His career aquatic by leg rheumatic was ended despite his fame
So he bought an old chariot from Judas Iscariot and tried out the racing game.

In 32 AD it happened to be that Messala was Empire Champ
A scheming fiend full of bile and spleen an unprincipled lowdown tramp
At equine auctions this type obnoxious could buy any horse he pleased
For that he knew all that all the while it was Pontius Pilate his sponsor that paid the fees.

One night it did occur that he met Ben Hur in a bar in downtown Beirut
Messala was rowdy and talking loudly he bragged of his high repute
So Ben walked up and he says you're a pup a despicable cheating thug
You always come first for your nags are nursed with performance enhancing drugs.

Messala he quaffed from his pint and laughed as he said to his nasty mates
I swear by Pythagarus this little shagger is foolishly tempting fate
We Roman players are strong and fair and at racing we are the best
But in the four o'clock at Antioch your words you can truly test.

So the challenge was met and they laid their bets and the fixture was advertised
Centurions and Majors were laying big wagers Messala would claim first prize
Not even his brother would chance a little flutter on Ben Hur as an each way pick
And the racing cognoscenti declared in print he surely wouldn't do the trick.

All the pubs were chock a block in Antioch on the morning of this great race
It was all sold out and the shady touts of a ticket could find no trace
There were fast food stalls all around the walls where the customers stood in queues
And a girl called Vera from Al Jazeera conducted the interviews.

So the drivers' first task was to follow the Damascus Loyal Volunteer Pipe Band
Those Syrians and Zionists dressed in their finest were cheering from terrace and stand
In the dearest seating the Romans were eating sandwiches filled with prawns
But they all came to the gala supporting Messala their very own buachaill bán

With Messala and Ben there were three more men who went to the starting line
Some die hard punters had money on Gunther a hun from beyond the Rhine
A brave Mesopotamian whose name was Damien was seen as an also ran
And a chap called Lazuras whose driving was hazardous excited the local fans.

The moment they got started bould Lazuras darted like mad for the opening bend
with a desperate swerve he tackled the curve but his chariot did upend
As he lay in his gore there remained just four until Damien lost the head
When all his plans unravelled through the air he travelled till he landed up in row Z.

Then moving to the front was the valiant Gunther exhorting his eager steeds
Messala was chasing his eyes were blazing determined on evil deeds
With his big long whip one horse he tripped and the Hun from his chariot threw
The with his horrid smile Ben Hur he riled saying the next one to die is you.

So they galloped side by side and Messala tried his rival to intimidate;
He pushed right in and he crowded Ben who shouted at him watch it mate
You're putting us in danger you halfwitted leanaí your horses on dope are high
He knew disaster beckoned for whoever came second so his choice was to win or die.

Through all the dust and smoke Ben Hur then spoke to his thorough bred broncos four
He talked about pagan invaders plaguing his people who suffered right sore
There's no freedom to be had without another jihad we'll strike for our libertee
And we'll clear the Middle East of these greedy beasts or we'll die in the fray says he.

Then his noble horses charged and on they barged as the enemy they shoved aside
Messala was humbled his thoroughbreds stumbled their energies all had dried
From his chariot falling his fate was appalling being battered by horses and wheels
In the course of all this skirmish his torn epidermis came off like potato peels.

So the race was in the bag and past the checkered flag Ben Hur and his team came in
Those Joyful Israelis were drinking and Baileys to celebrate a noble win
The ambulance brigade were giving first aid with Messalas own back room team
And a specialist from Babylon was rubbing on Savlon soothing antiseptic cream.

But of those gallant drivers the only survivor was Ben with the laurel crowned
For all of his rivals with ceremonies tribal were laid in the burial ground
Only Lazarus's folk complained they were broke saying the undertaker we can't pay
For we buried him already but instead of staying dead he turned up for his dinner next day.

Ben Hur, song / Con Fada Ó Drisceoil, singing in English
ITMA Reference Number:443-ITMA-DVCAM
Main Performer: Con Fada Ó Drisceoil
Title:Ben Hur [videorecording] / Con Fada Ó Drisceoil, singing in English
Corporate Author:Inishowen Traditional Singers' Circle
Recording Location:Ballyliffin Hotel, Clonmany, Co Donegal
Recording Date:20 March 2010
Physical Description:1 computer file (MPEG-4, 8 min. 10 sec.) :digital, stereo
Copyright:Performer and Inishowen Traditional Singers' Circle

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