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Seven Drunken Nights

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Seven Drunken Nights is a humorous traditional Irish song based on the Scottish ballad[1] Our Goodman. The best-known version is by The Dubliners, who reached seventh place in the UK charts in 1967. Usually only five of the seven verses are sung, as verses six and seven are very raunchy

Content

Each day is described by a stanza. Each evening the husband comes home drunk and finds evidence that his wife has had a visit from another man. Each time she tries to talk him out of his suspicions in an unconvincing manner.

Verse 1-5

1. Part: The man finds a suspicious clue:

As I went home on Monday night as drunk as drunk could be,
I saw a horse outside the door where my old horse should be.
Well, I called me wife and I said to her: “Will you kindly tell to me
Who owns that horse outside the door where my old horse should be?”

German translation (mutatis mutandis):

Monday night, when I came home as drunk as can be,
I saw a horse outside my door where my old horse should be.
Well, I called my wife and asked her, “Would you have the goodness to tell me..
Whose horse is that outside the door where my old horse should be?”

2. Part: The wife’s explanation that it was a gift from her mother:

“Ah, you’re drunk, you drunk, you silly old fool, still you can not see
That’s a lovely sow that mother sent to me.”
Oh, you’re drunk, you drunken, silly old fool, can’t you still see it?
That’s a glorious sow my mother sent me.”

3. Part: The doubts of the man:

Well, it’s many a day I’ve travelled a hundred miles or more,
But a saddle on a sow sure I never saw before.
Well, a lot of days I’ve been around, a hundred miles or more
But I’ve never seen a saddle on a sow!

The remaining stanzas follow the same pattern with the following items:

  • 2. Verse: jacket – blanket (with buttons on it)
  • 3. Verse: Pipe – Tin Whistle (with tobacco in it)
  • 4. Verse: Boots – Flower pots (with laces)
  • 5. Verse: Head of a man – baby (with beard)

Verse 6-7

Verses 6 and 7 are rarely sung (at least in public) because there are explicit sexual innuendos in them. There are several different versions of these two stanzas:

  • 6. Verse: Hands on her breasts – Bra (with fingers on it)
  • 7. Verse:
This stanza usually tells of the husband noticing “a thing” in “her thing,” whereupon the wife declares that this is a tin-whistle. But he says he has never seen a flute with hair on it.
Alternatively, the man sees another man coming out of the house at just after three in the morning. His wife tells him that this was a tax collector for the Queen. The punchline of the song is that the man now really doubts this, because someone who lasts until three in the morning can hardly have been an Englishman.

Recordings

The song was one of the biggest hits of the Dubliners from Ireland. In March 1967 they had their first chart hit in the UK with it, where they reached number 7.

Other versions:

  • The Tossers
  • Flogging Molly

German-language versions of the song have been released by pop singer Udo Jürgens under the title Du trinkst zuviel, by singer and actor Mike Krüger under the title Trunkenbold, and by the German band Torfrock. There is also a Low German version by the North German folk group Godewind, which was released in 1991, arranged by Larry Evers and Shanger Ohl, both members of this group. Furthermore, there exists a Cologne version called “Die voll Woch” by the Cologne band Die Höhner. The punk band Sektor Gasa released a Russian-language version called Метаморфоза (Metamorphosis).

Itemization

  1. Scots Songs, archived at the Internet Archive, retrieved 23 April 2019