Cover the Buckle

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COVER THE BUCKLE. AKA and see "Blooming Meadows (1)," "Chasing the Hare Down the Hill," "Hag and Her Praskeen." Irish. O'Neill (1913) finds references to this title confusing, referring to it as either the name of a tune or a dance. It is mentioned by Charles Lover in his song "Darby the Blast," a part of which goes:

As he plays 'Will I Send for the Priest?'
Or a jig they call 'Cover the Buckle.'

Hall's Ireland, of about the same date, relates an infatuated swain telling of his observing the object of his affections, Kate Leary, "covering the buckle, and heel on toe on the flure" opposite his rival in a dance. O'Neill cites a source, a respected County Leitrim piper born in the beginning of the 19th century named James Quinn, who lived near Chicago for many years, played a double jig he called "Cover the Buckle" or "The Hag and Her Praskeen" (which O'Neill states is generally known as "The Blooming Meadows"). O'Keefee and O'Brien's A Handbook of Irish Dance lists "Cover the Buckle" with figure or set dances which are irregular in structure. O'Neill finally quotes Shelton Mackenzie, born at Mallow, County Cork, in 1809. In an article on dancing masters Mackenzie describes:

...that wonderful display of agility known in my time as 'Cover the Buckle'-a name probably derived from the circumstance that the dancing master, while teaching, always wore large buckles in his shoes, and, by the rapidity of motion with which he would make his 'many twinkling feet' perpetually cross, would seem to 'cover' the appendages in question.

Furthermore, while instructing his students the dancing master would encourage them by saying, "That's the way," "Now a double cut," "Cover the buckle, ye divel," "Oh then, 'tis he that handles his feet nately" etc.

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index [2]



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