Delaney’s Donkey

William Hargreaves

Now Delaney had a donkey that everyone admired
Tempo’rily lazy and permanently tired
A leg at ev’ry corner balancing his head
And a tail to let you know which end he wanted to be fed
Riley slyly said “We’ve underrated it
Why not train it?” then he took a rag
They rubbed it, scrubbed it, they oiled and embrocated it
Got it to the post and when the starter dropped his flag

There was Riley pushing it, shoving it, shushing it
Hogan, Logan and ev’ryone in town lined up attacking it
And shoving it and smacking it
They might as well have tried to push the Town Hall down
The donkey was eyeing them, openly defying them
Winking, blinking and twisting out of place
Riley reversing it, ev’rybody cursing it
The day Delaney’s donkey ran the halfmile race

The muscles of the mighty never known to flinch
They couldn’t budge the donkey a quarter of an inch
Delaney lay exhausted, hanging round its throat
With a grip just like a Scotchman on a five pound note
Starter, Carter, he lined up with the rest of ’em
When it saw them, it was willing then
It raced up, braced up, ready for the best of ’em
They started off to cheer it but it changed its mind again

There was Riley pushing it, shoving it and shushing it
Hogan, Logan and Mary Ann Macgraw, she started poking it
Grabbing it and choking it
It kicked her in the bustle and it laughed “Hee – Haw!”
The whigs, the conservatives, radical superlatives
Libr’rals and tories, they hurried to the place
Stood there in unity, helping the community
The day Delaney’s donkey ran the halfmile race

The crowd began to cheer it, then Rafferty, the judge
He came to assist them, but still it wouldn’t budge
The jockey who was riding, little John MacGee
Was so thoroughly disgusted that he went to have his tea
Hagan, Fagan was students of psychology
Swore they’d shift it with some dynamite
They bought it, brought it, then without apology
The donkey gave a sneeze and blew the darn stuff out of sight

There was Riley pushing it, shoving it and shushing it
Hogan, Logan and all the bally crew
P’lice, and auxil’ary, the Garrison Artillery
The Second Enniskillen’s and the Life Guards too
They seized it and harried it, they picked it up and carried it
Cheered it, steered it to the winning place
Then the Bookies drew aside, they all commited suicide
Well, the day Delaney’s donkey won the halfmile race