“In Praise of John Magee”


John Magee finds no peace with his wife "So he says, 'I can auction you according to the law.'" The bidding is active and she goes to a farmer from Killarney for twenty-five shillings. "May the devil follow after her, the auctioneer did say"


I don't believe this should be lumped with "Sale of a Wife." While they both have the auction they have no lines in common.

[It's interesting to note that both songs seem to be Irish, though; perhaps one inspired the other, and some editors lump them. - RBW]

Morton-Ulster: .".. such sales were quite common in England between 1750 and 1860." - BS

Note also the broadside NLScotland, L.C.1268, "Sale of a Wife," W. Boag (?), Newcastle (describing an event of July 16, 1828) allegedly documenting such a sale. - RBW

Cross references


  • John Maguire, "In Praise of John Magee" (on IRJMaguire01)


  1. Morton-Ulster 12, "In Praise of John Magee" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Morton-Maguire 36, pp. 90-91,122,170, "In Praise of John Magee" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #2899
  4. BI, MorU012


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1970 (Morton-Ulster)
Found in: Ireland