PAT FAGAN. English, Jig. C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The piece sounds like a popular or music hall air of the time. The title may refer to a popular comic song by London singer and songwriter John Labern (c. 1815-c. 1880), published in 1843 called "Paddy's Museum," "Pat's Museum," or "Paddy's Curiosity Shop" [Roud 15372], sometimes sung to the melody of "Rosin the Beau." The first line sometimes is given as "Have you heard of Pat Fagan's Museum?," however, most published versions go:
Did you hear tell of Paddy's Museum,
Its ancient and modern antiquities;
If not, when ye hear, ye'll see em,
Of their fame all old Ireland speaks.
I was always considered a lover
Of antiquities, sure from my birth,
And did somehow or other discover
What nobody else could on earth.
So don't talk about Barnum's Museum;
If in passin' my house you will stop,
There's things, you'll be struck for to see 'em,
In Paddy's curiosity shop.
According to Richard Anthony Baker in his British Music Hall: An Illustrated History (2014, p. 15), Labern:
...wrote songs at one time considered obscene. Two collections, Labern's Comic Song Book and Labern's Original Comic Song Book were issued by a publisher of pornography, John Duncomb, of Holburn Hill. As a singer, Labern appeared at the Vauxhall Gardens and the Cyder Cellars. As a writer, he produced several songs for several of music hall's early entertainers, including W.G. Ross, J.W. Sharp and Sam Cowell...Labern's style eventually went out of favour. By 1873, he was running a shop near Tottenham Court Road selling newspapers and snuff.
Source for notated version: a c. 1847 music manuscript by Ellis Knowles, a musician from Radcliffe, Lancashire, England [Doyle].
Printed sources: Doyle (Plain Brown Tune Book), 1997; p. 16.
See also listing at:
See the Ballad Index entry