Raferty's Racin' Mare

You’ve not seen Rafferty round this way?
He’s a man with a broken hat,
His tie and his collar are all gone astray
And his coat for the matter o’ that!
We’re racin’ Rafferty round the place
Since Rafferty raced his mare,
He’s a man with an anxious look on his face
And a partially murdered air!

Oh! Rafferty’s racin’ mare
We met him at the fair,
Says he “She’ll win, so keep your tin,
For backin’ the racin’ mare.
Oh! Rafferty’s racin’ mare!
We thanked him then and there,
And every lad in Ballinafad
Went backin’ the racin’ mare.

I was the jockey they chose to ride –
And often the owner he sware
That there wasn’t a leap in the earth too wide
To baffle the racin’ mare.
Over hurdle and ditch she went like a witch,
Till she came where the water shone –
I gave her her head, but she stopped at it dead:
She stopped – and I went on!

Oh! Rafferty’s racin’ mare
I whirtler through the air
Like a beautiful bird, but never a word
From Rafferty’s racin’ mare!
“Get up, you lad,” says Ballinafad,
“you’ll win the race for us yet.”
But I didn’t care for the look of the mare.
Nor the way that her legs were set.
Seys they: “The horse’ll stay the course,
She’ll stay it – ivery foot.”
“You’re right,” says I – “I don’t deny
She’ll stay just were she’s put.”

Oh! Rafferty’s racin’ mare!
We danced around her there,
With stones and sticks, and bits o’ bricks
We hit her fair and square.
Oh! Rafferty’s racin’ mare!
The field they leapt it there,
But on the brink she’d stand and – drink,
Would Rafferty’s racin’ mare.

But where was Rafferty all the time?
Oh! Rafferty! he’s the lad.
There in the ring – he stood like a king,
Cheerin’ the mare like mad.
His brother was there, disguised, of course,
As a Roossian millionaire;
Giving the odds aginst every horse
And the longest aginst the mare.

Oh! Raffety’s racin’ mare!
‘Twas more than we could bear,
When a bookie revealed
He was backin’ the field,
Instead of the racin’ mare.
We’ve got the day to spare,
We’ve got the millionaire;
And we’re havin’ a race around the place,
And Rafferty – he’s the hare!

Prose, Poems & Parodies of Percy French, 1980, Helicon Limited, Dublin.


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The 15th Percy French Festival

French Awakenings

19th, 20th, 21st July 2023

At Castlecoote House

Honorary President of the Festival, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins.

Informed Social & Cultural Discussion of Ireland Today.