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Collection of eighty street ballads: The Buffalo (Catnach)

Collection of eighty street ballads on forty sheets, mostly with a woodcut printed at London, the majority by J. Catnach (1820ñ1830). London: n.p., n.d.

University of Minnesota Libraries. WILSON Rare Books Quarto 820.1 C683.

Pasted to album leaf 11: broadside, including "The Buffalo" (left column) and "LOve's a Tyrant" and "Is There a Heart" (right column).

The Buffalo

J. Catnach, Printer, 2, Monmouth-court, 7 Dials

COME all you young fellows that have a mind to range
Into some foreign country your station for to change
Into some foreign country away from her<e> to go
We lay down on the banks of the pleasant Ohio.
We wander thro' the wild woods and chase the Buffalo.

There is fishes in the river that's fitting for our use
And fine lofty sugar canes that yield us fine juice
And all sorts of game my boys besides the buck and doe,
We lay down on the banks of the pleasant Ohio.
Thro' the wild woods we'll wander and chase the Buffalo.

Come all you young maidens spin us some yarn
To make us some clothing to keep ourselves warm
For you can card and spin my girls and we can reap and mow
We lay down on the banks, &c.

Supposing these wild Indians should chance to come near
We will unite together our hearts free <f>rom care,
We will march down into the town my boys, and give the fatal blow,
We will lay down, &c.

Basic transcription by William Kurth.
Pointed brackets mark conjectural emendations.

Listed in Catnach's Catalogue (1832), 2; also published (with variant phrasing) by Catnach's neighbor and competitor, J. Pitts (see Collection of Ballads, Songsheets, University of Minnesota Libraries). Also known as "The Banks of the Pleasant Ohio": transcribed by The Digital Tradition Folk Song Database from Contentment, or, The Compleat Nutmeg-State Songster, ed. Jim Douglas (Sturbridge, MA: Pedlar Press, rpt. 1987), where it is reproduced from a Connecticut source. WorldCat (FirstSearch) reports two different versions published in New York, one titled "Hunt the Buffalo, or, The Banks of the Pleasant Ohio."

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Michael Hancher
Department of English, University of Minnesota
URL: <http://umn.edu/home/mh/buffalo.html>
Comments to: mh@umn.edu
Created 9 April 1997
Revised 10 April 1997