The lyrics to McBreen’s Heifer were written by Percy French who performed it at his concerts throughout Ireland and the UK.
The song explores the dilemma that is faced by a young farmer who must decide whether to marry a pretty girl who has no dowry or a plain girl who comes with a heifer (young cow) as a dowry.
The lyrics are both clever and funny and show French’s mastery of the comic song.
The chords are presented here in the key of D major.
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He thought that he’d give the schoolmaster a turn.
Sez he “to wed Kitty is very good fun,
Still a heifer’s a heifer when all’s said an’ done.
A girl she might lose her good looks anyhow,
And a heifer might grow to an elegant cow.
But still there’s no price for the stock, d’ye mind,
And Jane has a face that the Divil designed.”
The schoolmaster said, with a good deal of sense,
Add the price of the heifer, then Jane, I’ll be bound,
Will come out on top by a couple o’ pound.
But still I’m forgettin’ that down in Glengall,
The stock is just goin’ for nothin’ at all.”
So Jim thought he’d wait till the end of the year,
Till girls might be cheaper or stock might be dear.
She was married to McGinty
And McGee had appropriated Jane
So whether there’s the differ
Of the price of a heifer
Is a thing that he never could explain.