Location: Derbyshire, England (SK----)
Year: Publ. 1967
Time of Occurrence: [Not given]
Collective Name: [Not given]


Llewellynn Jewitt
The Ballads and Songs of Derbyshire: With Illustrative Notes and Examples of the Original Music, etc.
London & Derby, Bemrose & Sons, 1867, pp.115-119




{The Derby Ram.}

As I was going to Darby, Sir,
All on a market day,
I met the finest Ram, Sir,
That ever was fed on hay.
Daddle-i-day, daddle-i-day,
Fal-de-ral, fal-de-ral, daddle-i-day.
This Ram was fat behind, Sir,
This Ram was fat before,
This Ram was ten yards high, Sir,
Indeed he was no more.
Daddle-i-day, &c.
The Wool upon his back, Sir,
Reached up unto the sky,
The Eagles made their nests there, Sir,
For I heard the young ones cry.
Daddle-i-day, &c.
The Wool upon his belly, Sir,
It dragged upon the ground,
It was sold in Darby town, Sir,
For forty thousand pound. [Note 1]
Daddle-i-day, &c.
The space between his horns, Sir,
Was as far as a man could reach,
And there they built a pulpit
For the Parson there to preach.
Daddle-i-day, &c.
The teeth that were in his mouth, Sir,
Were like a regiment of men;
And the tongue that hung between them, Sir,
Would have dined them twice and again.
Daddle-i-day, &c.
This Ram jumped o'er a wall, Sir,
His tail caught on a briar,
It reached from Darby town, Sir,
All into Leicestershire.
Daddle-i-day, &c.
And of this tail so long, Sir,
'Twas ten miles and an ell,
They made a goodly rope, Sir,
To toll the market bell.
Daddle-i-day, &c.
This Ram had four legs to walk on, Sir,
This Ram had four legs to stand,
And every leg he had, Sir,
Stood on an acre of land. [Note 2]
Daddle-i-day, &c.
The Butcher that killed this Ram, Sir,
Was drownded in the blood,
And the boy that held the pail, Sir,
Was carried away in the flood. [Note 3]
Daddle-i-day, &c,
All the maids in Darby, Sir,
Came begging for his horns,
To take them to coopers,
To make them milking gawns. [Note 4]
Daddle-i-day, &c.
The little boys of Darby, Sir,
They came to beg his eyes,
To kick about the streets, Sir,
For they were football [Note 5] size.
Daddle-i-day, &c.
The tanner that tanned its hide, Sir,
Would never be poor any more,
For when he had tanned and retched [Note 6] it,
It covered all Sinfin Moor. [Note 7]
Daddle-i-day, &c.
The Jaws that were in his head, Sir,
They were so fine and thin,
They were sold to a Methodist Parson,
For a pulpit to preach in. [Note 8]
Daddle-i-day, &c.
Indeed, Sir, this is true, Sir,
I never was taught to lie,
And had you been to Darby, Sir,
You'd have seen it as well as I. [Note 9]
Daddle-i-day, daddle-i-day,
Fal-de-ral, fal-de-ral, daddle-i-day.


Originally prepared for textual analysis during his PhD research on the 'Origins and Development of English Folk Plays' by Peter Millington (2002).
Original spelling and typography is retained, except that superscripts, long s and ligatured forms are not encoded.
Line identifiers are those used for line types in the Folk Play Scripts Explorer.

Jewitt's Introduction:

THE origin of this popular old ballad has yet to be ascertained. at present. It has puzzled more heads than one, and its elucidation must be left to future research. Its principal characteristic is its bold extravagance. Derby and Derby people have, however, I know by references to allusions to it, been fond of their Ram for more than a century. How much older it is than that time is difficult to say. There are several versions of the ballad: the one I here give is, however, the most complete I have met with. The "Derby Ram" has been set as a glee by Dr. Callcott, and is still sung with much applause at public dinners in the town. So popular, indeed, is the Ram in the district, that a few years ago - in 1855 - the First Regiment of Derbyshire Militia, whose barracks and head quarters are at Derby, carrying out the idea of the Welsh Fusileers with their goat, attached a fine Ram to the staff of the regiment. So well trained was he, and so evidently proud of his post, that he marched with a stately step in front of the band as they marched day by day through the town while up for training, and attracted quite as much notice as any drum-major ever did. More than this, a political periodical, a kind of provincial Charivarri, has been issued under the title of the "Derby Ram," which is supposed to butt at party doings, and'at local abuses of various kinds; and I write this note with a steel pen which bears the extraordinary name stamped upon it of the "Derby Ram pen!"

Jewitt's Footnotes:

Note 1: "Another version has -
'The Wool upon his back, Sir,
Was worth a thousand pound,
The Wool upon his belly, Sir,
It trailed upon the ground.'"
Note 2: "Another version says -
'And every time he shifted them,
He covered an acre of land.'
Note 3: "Another version has -
'And all the people of Darby
Were carried away in the flood.'
Note 4: " Gawn" is a provincialism for pail, - a milk pail.
Note 5: "Football was essentially a Derby game, and was played every year, frequently with highly disastrous consequences, until put down by the authorities a few years back. On Shrove Tuesday business was en- tirely suspended, and the townspeople being divided into two parties, - All Saints and St. Peters, - the ball was, at noon, thrown from the Town Mall to the densely packed masses in the market-place, the two parties each trying to 'goal' it at their respective places. The fight- tor it was nothing less-continued for many hours, and sewers, brook- courses, and even rivers, were invaded, and scores of people who were fortunate enough not to get killed or lamed, were stripped of their clothing in the fray."
Note 6: "Stretched, - i.e., fastened it down with pegs to dry."
Note 7: "Sinfin Moor is a few miles from Derby. It is a place where, in former times, Derby races were held. Another version says 'Swinscoe Moor,' which is in the neighbourhood of Ashborne."
Note 8: "I take it that this verse is a later addition to the song, put in, probably, by some singer who was antagonistic to Methodism. It does not appear in most of the versions I have collected."
Note 9: "Another version says -
'And if you go to Darby, Sir,
You may eat a bit of the pie.'

Peter Millington's Notes:

Verse numbers have been added.

File History:

2004-06-28 - Scanned, OCRed and encoded by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


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