(Skewball) and one or more other horses run a race; the crowd favors another animal. (Half way through the course), Skewball tells his rider he will win. He pushes on to victory (and drinks a toast with his rider)


This seems to have given rise to a work song fragment, "Old Skubald"; see Darling-NAS, p. 325. - RBW

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Johnson Ballads 999[some lines illegible], "Skew Ball" ("Come gentlemen sportsmen I pray listen all"), J. Pitts (London), 1802-1819; also Harding B 11(3533), Harding B 15(289a), Harding B 15(289b), Harding B 15(290a), Firth c.19(78), Firth c.19(79), Harding B 11(73), Firth b.26(236), "Skew Ball"; Harding B 28(274), Harding B 25(1784), Harding B 25(1785), Harding B 6(54), G.A. Gen. top. b.29(24/2) [some words illegible] "Skewball"; Firth b.25(297), Johnson Ballads 1406, 2806 c.18(282), Firth c.26(51), "Scew Ball"


  • "Bowlegs" [no other name given], "Stewball" (AFS 1863 B4, 1933)
  • Harold B. Hazelhurst, "Stewboy" (AFS 3143 B3, 1939)
  • Harry Jackson, "Old Blue Was a Gray Horse" (on HJackson1)
  • Ed Lewis & prisoners, "Stewball" (on LomaxCD1703)
  • A. L. Lloyd, "Skewball" (on Lloyd3, Lloyd6)
  • Pete Seeger, "Stewball" (on PeteSeeger43)


  1. Laws Q22, "Skewball"
  2. BrownII 136, "Skew Ball" (2 fragments)
  3. Lomax-ABFS, pp. 68-70, "Stewball" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 62-64, "The Noble Skewball" (1 partial text plus a British version in a footnote, 1 tune)
  5. Darling-NAS, pp. 151-152, "Stewball" (1 text)
  6. Fife-Cowboy/West 8, "Squeball" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  7. Silber-FSWB, p. 395, "Stewball" (1 text)
  9. Roud #456
  10. BI, LQ22


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1784 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B25)
Keywords: horse racing promise
Found in: US(MW,NE,SE) Britain(England)