Why should we quarrel for riches
X:1 T:Why should we quarrel for riches M:9/8 L:1/8 R:Air S:O'Farrell – Pocket Companion, vol. IV (c. 1810) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Emin g | dBB (B>AG) AGA | B>cB (AGF) E2e | dBB (B>AG) AGA | B>cB (AGF) E2F | G>AG GBd dBA | B>cB Bgf e2 g/e/ | dBB (B>AG) AGA | B>AG (GFF) E2 ||
WHY SHOULD WE QUARREL FOR RICHES. English, Irish; Air (9/8 time). G Major/E Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABB. O’Farrell (c. 1810) assigns an Irish provenance for this sailor’s song (Roud Broadside Index B139505), although a version appears earlier in Allan Ramsay’s (1684-1758) Tea-Table Miscellany (London, 1733). It proved popular and had longevity far into the next century, inspiring parodies and sequals; it was frequently anthologized. The first verse and chorus go:
How pleasant a sailor's life passes,
Who roams o'er the watery main!
No treasure he ever amasses,
But cheerfully spends all his gain.
We're strangers to party and faction,
To honour and honesty true;
And would not commit a bad action
For power or profit in view.
Then why should we quarrel for riches,
Or any such glittering toys;
A light heart, and a thin pair of breeches,
Will go through the world, my brave boys!
The tune was also entered into vol. 2 (p. 149) of the mid-19th century music manuscript collection of County Cork cleric and uilleann piper James Goodman (musicologist), who obtained it from a manuscript provided to him by Dublin bookseller John O'Daly.