The Peeler And The Goat jig

Also known as An Buailteoir, An Gabhar Bán, An Siotcoimeadaide Agus An Ga, The Cavan Buck, Gabhar Bán, I’ll Puck You With My Horn O, The Recruiting Sergeant, Single, The White Goat.

There are 18 recordings of this tune.
This tune has been recorded together with

The Peeler And The Goat appears in 4 other tune collections.

The Peeler And The Goat has been added to 4 tune sets.

The Peeler And The Goat has been added to 85 tunebooks.

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Twenty comments

The Peeler and the Goat

I found this one listed as a single jig in “The Roche Collection of Traditional Irish Music, Vol II”.
In the B part of the ABC notation, 4 bars from the end the first and fourth notes of the measure are notated with a “P”, which in ABC version 3.7.20 means that those notes have a mordent applied to them. If you’re using an earlier version of ABC, I’m not sure how that will turn out.


Oh, the Penshaw peeler went one night
On duty and patrolling
He spied a goat upon the road
And took him for a-strolling

Bayonet fixed, he sallied forth
And he caught him by the wizzen
There swore out a mighty oath
He’s send him off to prison

Have mercy, sir, the goat replied
And let me tell my story
I am no rogue, no ribbon man
No cockey, Whig, or Tory

I’m innocent of any crime,
Of petty or high treason
For my tribe is active at this time
It is the mating season.

“Do not complain,” the peeler said
But give your tongue a bridle
You’re absent from your dwelling place,
Disorderly, and idle

Your hoary locks will not prevail
Nor your sublime oration
For the penal laws will you transport
On your own information

No penal laws have I transgressed
By deed or combination
It’s true I have no place of rest,
No home, or habitation

But Penshaw is my dwelling place
Where I was bread and borne-o
I’m of an honest working race
That’s all the trade I’ve learned-o

I wager, sir, that you are drunk
On whiskey, rum, and brandy
Or you wouldn’t have such gallant spunk
To be so bold and manly

You readily would let me pass
If I had money handy
I’d take you to the parting glass
Its then I’d be the dandy

“The Peeler and the Goat” ~ the single jig’s dance

* ~ signifies that there are ‘variations’/‘options’…

Hold*: partners face and take a cross-hold, Rights over Lefts

1 - 2 ~ moving to the M’s left/W’s right (ACW)
= step to the side, step together, step 123* = M-L, R, LRL/W-R, L, RLR
3 - 4 ~ & back (CW) = step, together, 123, opposite footwork
5 - 8 ~ Repeat

1 - 4 ~ on the place, the couple turns CW, 4 x 123s (hook R-elbows*)
5 - 8 ~ the other way back, turning ACW, 4 x 123s (hook L-elbows*)

1 - 2 ~ cross-hold and not letting go, in place, the woman turns under CW
3 - 4 ~ cross-hold and not letting go, the man turns under ACW
5 - 8 ~ Repeat

1 - 8 ~ Swing* (~ some use a basic ballroom/waltz hold*)
“Cheat-Steps” = the man starts this usually with his weight on his Right foot and so would start this move on his Left foot, so there is a ‘pause’ = L - RLRLR ~ etc., finishing on his R. The woman starts this with her weight on her Left foot, ready to swing = RLRLRLR ~ etc…, or together = M-L-RLRLR~/W-RLRLRLR~. But the finish is the woman’s cheat-step of ‘fudge’, as she needs to finish with her weight on her Left foot and ready to start the dance from the beginning, moving to her right side with a R-step. So the finish of the swing for both can be something like this = M ~ RLR-/W ~ RLRL*…

The music can be played in either fashion, without repeats as a ‘single’, meaning 16 bars and twice through the tune for once through the dance ~ or with repeats, meaning 32 bars and once through the tune for once through the dance.

“The Marine” ~ another single jig couple / two-hand dance

Submitted on August 7th 2004 by ceolachan.
You’ll find the dance description in the ‘Comments’…

“The Peeler and the Goat” ~ take two

K: b minor ~ or ~ B Dorian
|: c |
d2 B cBA | B2 c d2 e | fgf e2 d | c2 A ABc |
dcB cBA | B2 c d2 e | fga f2 e | f2 B B2 :|
|: g |
a2 f e2 a | fga b2 c’ | baf e2 a | c2 A A2 c |
dcB cBA | B2 c d2 e | fga f2 e | f2 B B2 :|

& you can choose to repeat the parts or not…your choice…

“The Peeler and the Goat” ~ Captain O’Neill

“Music of Ireland”, 1903, No. 296:

K: A Minor (or G Dorian)
A/B/ |
c2 A BAG | A2 B c2 d | efe d2 c | B2 G GAB |
c2 A BAG | A2 B c2 d | e^fg =fed | e2 A A2 ||
^f |
g2 e dcd | e^f^g a2 b | age d2 g | B2 G GAB |
c2 A BAG | A2 B c2 d | e^fg =fed | e2 A A2 ||

“The Peeler and the Goat” ~ if you’re going to sing it ~

“Sir Robert Peel was appointed Secretary of Ireland by the British 1812, and one of his first acts was to form a police force. Today such a force seems normal to maintain law and order, but at that time it was a new idea, and in Ireland particularly, regarded as just more interference with the peoples liberty by the occupying power. The members of the new force were quickly labelled ‘Peelers’ and ‘Bobbies’ after their creator, and were the subject of ridicule, particularly when their authority to arrest and detain for small offences became apparent. Darby Ryan of Bansha, a small village half-way on the road between Cahir and Tipperary Town, contributed much to the ridicule when he wrote this song well over a century ago, for within a short time it was being sung in a wide district around. It is said to have been inspired by some of the new force taking some straying goats into ‘custody’ for causing an obstruction.”

There are loads of lyrics to be found for this on the Internet, but some of the variants to the previous are worthy of note, especially an older source ~

Melody - “An Buailteoir”

As Bansha peelers were, one night,
On duty a-patrolling, O,
They met a goat upon the road
Who seemed to be a-strolling, O
With bayonets fixed they sallied forth,
And caught her by the wizen, O,
And then swore out a mighty oath
They’d send her off to prison, O. ~ ETC…

“Anthology of Irish Verse” ~ 1922

Padraic Colum ~ 1881 - 1972

101. “The Peeler and the Goat ” ~ by anonymous

A Bansha Peeler wint won night
On duty and pathrollin’ O,
An’ met a goat upon the road,
And tuck her for a sthroller O.
Wud bay’net fixed he sallied forth,
An’ caught her by the wizzen O,
An’ then he swore a mighty oath,
“I’ll send you off to prison O.”

“Oh, mercy, sir!” the goat replied,
“Pray let me tell my story O!
I am no Rogue, no Ribbonman,
No Croppy, Whig, or Tory O;
I’m guilty not of any crime
Of petty or high thraison O,
I’m sadly wanted at this time,
For this is the milkin’ saison O.”

“It is in vain for to complain
Or give your tongue such bridle O,
You’re absent from your dwellin’ place,
Disorderly and idle O.
Your hoary locks will not prevail,
Nor your sublime oration O,
You’ll be thransported by Peel’s Act,
Upon my information O.”

“No penal law did I transgress
By deeds or combination O.
I have no certain place to rest,
No home or habitation O.
But Bansha is my dwelling-place,
Where I was bred and born O,
Descended from an honest race,
That’s all the trade I’ve learned O.”

“I will chastise your insolince
And violent behaviour O;
Well bound to Cashel you’ll be sint,
Where you will gain no favour O.
The magistrates will all consint
To sign your condemnation O;
From there to Cork you will be sint
For speedy thransportation O.”

“This parish an’ this neighbourhood
Are paiceable and thranquil O;
There’s no disturbance here, thank God!
An’ long may it continue so.
I don’t regard your oath a pin,
Or sign for my committal O,
My jury will be gintlemin
And grant me my acquittal O.”

“The consequince be what it will,
A peeler’s power I’ll let you know,
I’ll handcuff you, at all events,
And march you off to Bridewell O.
An’ sure, you rogue, you can’t deny
Before the judge or jury O,
Intimidation with your horns,
An’ threatening me with fury O.”

“I make no doubt but you are dhrunk,
Wud whiskey, rum, or brandy O,
Or you wouldn’t have such gallant spunk
To be so bould or manly O.
You readily would let me pass
If I had money handy O,
To thrate you to a potheen glass—
Oh! it’s then I’d be the dandy O.”

“The Peeler and the Goat” ~ e - f - g & a minor

That’s at least 4 keys I’ve known this tune to be played through and resolved on… I was recently transcribing it yet again from another recording and realized this. I somehow couldn’t quite shake my confusion with the key, but after several different resolutions Dorian didn’t make sense. It seems too jolly and rollicking for minor, but that seems the only choice after having fun with this in 4 keys… Hey, it’s a single jig, they make their own way in the world of music and dance…and sometimes they slide… 😏

E - f - b & a minor

~ not g, that was a slip of the finger, one key up…

An Gabhar Bán

As recorded by Clannad

Sa tsean ghleann thiar a bhi sí raibh
Go dtí gur fhás na hadharc’ uirthi
Bliain is céad is corradh laethe
Go dtáinig an aois go tréan uirthi
Bhi sí gcró bheag ins an cheo
Go dtáinig feil’Eoin is gur éalaigh sí
Thart an ród san bealach mór
Gur lean a tóir go gear uirthi.

Ni raibh nduine ar a tóir ach Donnchú óg
Is d’ith sí an lón san t-anlann air
Ni raibh aige ina dhorn ach ceap túine mór
Agus leag sé anuas ón arradh í
Nuair a chuala an gabhar bán go raibh sí ar lár
Thug sí léim chun tárrthála
Thug sí rás ’s ni raibh sí sásta
Is leag sí spíon an táilliúra.

Chomh cruinn le rón gur thóg sí feoil
Gan pis gan mórán déibhirce
Ach d’ith sí cib agus barr an fhraoich
Slánlús min is craobhógai
Draoin is dreas is cuilcann glas
Gach ní ar dhath na h-áinleoga
Cutharán sléibhe, duilliúr féile
Caora sréana agus blainséogai.

Chuaigh sí dhíol cios le Caiftín Spits
Is chraethnaigh a croi go dtréigfí í
Chaith sí an oíche ar bheagán bidh
Mar ndúil is go geasfaí féar uirthi
D‘Fan sí ’a óiche i dtóin Ros Coill
Is chaith sí é go pléisúra
Go dtáinig an slua ar maidin go luath
Is thug siad amach as Éirinn í.


The Pogues play this as a medley on their If I Should Fall from Grace… album. The melody is slightly different for the B section of the tune. Does anyone know the ABC for that version?

“The Recruiting Sergeant” ~ The Pogues take on this

X: 5
T: Peeler And The Goat, The
T: Recruiting Sergeant, The
S: “The Pogues: If I Should Fall From Grace”
S: track 8, song: “The Recruiting Sergeant”
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K: Ddor
E/F/ |\
G2 E F2 D | E2 F G2 A | B2 B BAG | F2 D DEF |
G2 E FF/G/D | E2 F G2 A | B2 d cBA | BGE E2 ||
B/c/ |\
d2 B cBA | B2 e e2 B/c/ | d2 B A2 G | F2 D DEF |
G2 E FED | E2 F G2 A | B2 d cBA | BGE E2 |]

However, the final E of each part is extended in the song something like this ~

~ | BGE E3- | E3- E3- | E3- E2 |]

More lyrics to The Recruitment Sergeant version:

Come wind or rain or hail or snow
We’re not going out to Flanders oh
When there’s fighting in Dublin to be done
Let the sergeants and commanders go.
Let Englishmen for England fight
It’s just about time they started oh
And I wished them all a very good night
And there and then we parted oh.

(courtesy of )

The song in Irish above (An Gabhar Bán/The White Goat) is another classic adventure of the ‘mad puck goat’. People at: are still looking for a full translation of the words. Could any one help?

The Recruiting Sergeant

The Recruiting Sergeant version of The Pogues song in E Dorian with the Chords
There is one time added between the A and B part for breathing

Re: The Recruiting Sergeant

I’m not familiar with the song version, but you could play this in 12/8 and happily throw it into a set of slides.

Re: The Recruiting Sergeant

The last bar in the second line needs some fixing because it doesn’t add up. Nice setting with chords, thanks. We will tell Jeremy to add it to the existing page, with that name that seems not to be in the name list for that tune.