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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
John Moulden Lyr Req: Finding of Moses / Pharaoh's Daughter (33) RE: Finding of Moses / Pharoah's Daughter 12 Jan 03


One Joseph Tully writing under the pseudonym Guilelmus Dubliniensis Humoriensis in 1871 produced "Memoir of the Great Zozimus (Michael Moran) The Celebrated Dublin Street Rhymer and Reciter With his Songs, Sayings and Recitations". This was republished by Carraig Books Dublin (1876) with an introduction by Dr Thomas Wall. The booklet's text gives an early draft which begins:

"On Egypt's plains, where flows the ancient Nile
Where Ibex stalks, and swims the crocodile"
and which is quite unlike the version, or rather series of versions, which are current.

In my recollection the first person to sing this into general knowledge was Dominic Behan though Frank Harte may have been implicated also. However, as I read Dr Wall's introduction, it is likely that these versions owe more to the publication of a set of words on one of the Cuala Press Broadsides in 1935. This set, says Dr Wall was probably altered by FR Higgins who was co-editor with Yeats of this series: "suspect that ... Higgins ... was responsible for the exaggerated Dublinese of the Cuala version..."

Hence I'm afraid, in the absence of a full early text (Tully only quotes the first 2 stanzas) we can't place any reliance on the authenticity of the language of any of the current or post 1935 versions.


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