Digital Tradition Mirror

Pickled Jew

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Pickled Jew

Two middle-aged brothers in New York once dwelt,
In all kinds of merchandise freely they dealt.
And those two brothers, 'twixt me and you
Those two brothers were rich, were as rich as a Jew

cho: Derry down, down, down derry down.

Now Moses and Isaac, I'll call them by name
For making sharp bargains they were of just fame.
If people need money, it always was lent
And they never would charge over ninety percent.

One day, the lad Moses, his days they were o'er
For the Lord called on Moses to settle the score.
No mortal on earth can reserve his last call
For now Moses was taking his last leave of all.

So then said old Isaac with a voice like an elk
"All his money and riches I'll have for myself
But here is his will, and I'll read it right through
And find out what Moses would have me to do."

He picked up the will and as sure as you live,
All my money and riches to my brother I'll give.
For the money and riches, I'd have him to toil
He must bury my body on good English soil.

He went to the captains, but could not prevail
For none with the body would agree to set sail.
So, not to be beaten, he went right to work
And embarged him on board as a barrel of salt pork.

One day, as Isaac was walking the wharf
He met with the captain, a surly-faced dwarf.
Said he to the captain, looking steadfast and down
"I hope you delivered my pork safe and sound"

"Oh no," said the captain, "that I cannot say,
For in sight of land we were near cast away.
Drawing near to old England we had a revolt
Then provisions got short and we had to break bolt."

"Break bolt," said old Isaac, "You're worse than the Turk
You didn't disturb my barrel of salt pork?"
"Oh yes," said the captain, speaking up very gruff
"We ate up your pork, It was damnably tough."

"Oh God!" said old Isaac, "You're worse than a sinner.
You would eat up my poor brother Moses for dinner!"
"Oh God!" said the captain, "Has me and my crew
Been living three weeks on a barrel of tough Jew?"

"But now," said the captain," to finish the joke
I will pay you for Moses as though he was pork."
"Oh no," said old Isaac, "we will cheat one another
For the Lord won't allow us to sell our own brother."

But Isaac 'served the captain putting back his own gold.
Then he said to the captain, "Dear captain, please hold.
Now seeing you can't pay for that brother of mine
You might at least pay for the barrel and brine."

from Folk Songs out of Wisconson (Peters)

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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