Donnelly and Cooper

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"Donnelly and Cooper" is an Irish ballad recounting a historic bare-knuckle boxing match between Dan Donnelly and George Cooper.

Description[edit]

The ballad describes the meeting of the Irish boxer, Donnelly, and his English opponent, Cooper. At the start of the fight, the odd are 10:1 in Cooper's favour. During the match, each fighter in turn scores knockdown blows. After Cooper scores what appears to be a winning blow, the sister of Donnelly's trainer exhorts him to get up, informing him that she has bet her entire estate on his victory. Donnelly rises and is triumphant.

The author of the ballad is unknown.

The ballad has been in circulation since circa 1845.[1] The earliest verifiable date found in publication is 1854.[2]

The contest depicted in the song took place on 13 December 1815, at the Curragh of Kildare in Ireland. In honour of his victory, the location of the bout was renamed Donnelly's Hollow, and a commemorative monument was later erected on the site.

Multiple variants of the lyrics have been published in folk music collections.[3][4][5][6][7]

In the mid 19th century, the ballad passed from the oral tradition into publication through the printing of broadsides in Great Britain, Ireland, and the United States.[2][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

Another of Donnelly's ring victories is the subject of the ballad "Donnelly and Oliver".[17] The theme of the proud Irishman in a bare-fist fight is repeated in "Morrissey and the Black",[18] "Morrissey and the Russian Sailor",[19] and "Heenan and Sayers".[20]

"Donnelly and Cooper" is set to the tune of "I'm the Boy Can Do It".[2] The melody was later used in "Morrissey and the Russian Sailor", "Heenan and Sayers", and "Relief for Ireland".[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Waltz, Robert B.; Engle, David G. "Donnelly and Cooper". The Traditional Ballad Index. California State University, Fresno. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Harding B 17(77b)". Bodleian Library Catalogue of Ballads. University of Oxford. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Kennedy, Peter (1975). Folksongs of Britain and Ireland. New York: Schirmer Books. pp. 700–701. 
  4. ^ O'Conor, Manus (1901). Irish come-all-ye's: a repository of ancient Irish songs and ballads—comprising patriotic, descriptive, historical and humorous gems, characteristic of the Irish race. New York: L. Lipkind. p. 27. 
  5. ^ Morton, Robin (1970). Folksongs sung in Ulster. Cork: Mercier Press. pp. 77–79. 
  6. ^ Dean, Michael Cassius (1922). Flying cloud: and one hundred and fifty other old time songs and ballads of outdoor men, sailors, lumber jacks, soldiers, men of the Great Lakes, railroadmen, miners, etc. Virginia, Minnesota: The Quickprint. pp. 21–22. 
  7. ^ Shoemaker, Henry Wharton (1931). Mountain minstrelsy of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: N. F. McGirr. p. 278. 
  8. ^ "2806 c.15(226)". Bodleian Library Catalogue of Ballads. University of Oxford. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "Johnson Ballads 2271B". Bodleian Library Catalogue of Ballads. University of Oxford. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "Firth c.19(16)". Bodleian Library Catalogue of Ballads. University of Oxford. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  11. ^ "2806 c.8(245)". Bodleian Library Catalogue of Ballads. University of Oxford. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Harding B 11(934)". Bodleian Library Catalogue of Ballads. University of Oxford. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  13. ^ "Harding B 11(935)". Bodleian Library Catalogue of Ballads. University of Oxford. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  14. ^ "Harding B 19(45)". Bodleian Library Catalogue of Ballads. University of Oxford. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  15. ^ "as200750". America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets. The Library of Congress. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  16. ^ "L.C. 1270(017)". The Word on the Street. The National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  17. ^ "Mu23-y3:015". Glasgow Broadside Ballads. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  18. ^ Greenleaf, Elizabeth Bristol; Mansfield, Grace Yarrow (1933). Ballads and Sea-Songs of Newfoundland. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 355. ISBN 978-0-674-01263-9. 
  19. ^ Silverman, Jerry (1991). Songs of Ireland: 103 Favourite Irish and Irish-American Songs. Pacific, Missouri: Mel Bay Publications. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-56222-113-3. 
  20. ^ O'Conor. Irish come-all-ye's. pp. 76, 77. 
  21. ^ "Harding B 18(701)". Bodleian Library Catalogue of Ballads. University of Oxford. Retrieved 18 August 2010.