Song ['The man in the moon look'd down one night'] (c. 1812)



[c. 1812]

The man in the moon look’d down one night,
Where a lad and his lass were walking;
Thinks he, there must be very huge delight
In this kissing and nonsense-talking:
And so there must (’tis a well known case), 5
For it lasts both late and early.
So they talk’d him down, till he cover’d his face,
—They tired his patience fairly.
Then up rose the sun in his morning beams,
And push’d back his nightcap to greet them;10
Says he,— ‘As you boast of your darts and flames,
My darts and my flames shall meet them.’
He scorch’d them both through the live-longday,
But they never once seem’d to mind him,
But laugh’d outright, as he skulk’d away, 15
And left a dark world behind him.
Then the man in the moon look’d down in a pet,
And said, ‘I believe I can cure you;
Though my brother has fail’d, I may conquer yet—
If not, I must try to endure you.20
Go home,’ he cried, ‘and attend to my rules,
And banish all thoughts of sorrow;
Then jump into bed, you couple of fools,
And you’ll both be wiser to-morrow.’


*The tune, ‘Ligrum cus’, appears in Volume V of Aird’s Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (Glasgow, 1801). The title, apparently corrupt Irish Gaelic, may be translated as ‘Let go my foot’ and is taken to refer to excessive rents. However, earlier versions of the tune are given the Jacobite title of ‘Over the Water to Charlie’ and appear in Robert Bremner, A Collection of Scots Reels and Country Dances (Edinburgh and London, 1759), and James Johnson, Scots Musical Museum (Edinburgh, 1787–1803). Later reworkings may be found in James Hogg, Jacobite Relics, 2nd series (Edinburgh, 1821). Thanks to Keri Davies for this information. BACK