The Finding of Moses
Michael Moran, aka Zosimus
Michael Moran was a blind street-rhymer who practiced his art in Dublin in the early 1800s. He died at a relatively young age, at his lodgings in The Liberties, the oldest section of Dublin. I first discovered the song in Frank Harte's marvelous little book 'Songs of Dublin'
Oh, on Egypt's banks, contagious to the Nile
The oul Pharaoh's daughter she went to bathe in style
She took her dip and she came unto the land
And to dry her royal pelt she ran along the strand
A bulrush tripped her up, whereupon she saw
A smiling babby in a wad of straw
She took him up and says she in accents mild
"Taranagiers girls now, which of yis owns the child?"
She lifted him up and she gave a little grin
For she and Moses were standing in their skin
"Oh Bedad now" says she, "It was someone very rude
That left a little babby by the river in his nude"
She took him up to Pharaoh sitting on the throne
"Da," says she, "Will ye give the boy a home"
"Bedad now," says Pharaoh, "Sure I've often took in worse
Go me darling daughter and get the child a nurse."
Then an oul blackamoor woman among the crew
Said, "Get out ye royal savages, what's that to do with you
Your Royal ladies is too meek and mild
For to beget dishonestly this darling little child"
"Ah then," says Pharaoh, I'll search every nook
From the Phoenix Park on down to Donnybrook
And when I catch a hoult of the child's father
I will kick him from the Nile down to the Dodder."
Then they sent a bellman to the market square
For to see if they could find the slavey there
But the only one now that they could find
Was the little young one that left the child behind
She came up to Pharaoh, a stranger mareyah!
Never lettin' on that she was the babby's ma
And so little Moses got his mammy back
Shows that coincidence is a nut to crack
Blackamoor: An archaic reference to a dark-skinned person from North Africa
Phoenix Park: A city park on the west side of Dublin covering 1,750 acres. It is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city. It houses The Zoological Gardens, and the residences of the Irish President and the American Ambassador.
Donnybrook: A suburb to the south of Dublin city
Dodder: A river in Dublin
Mareyah: An expression showing suspicion or disbelief