“The Poor Hard-Working Man”


"I have to work so very hard To keep my family. There's eleven children and my wife... And my wife she often told me I am the daddy of them all." The grown boys work shining shoes, singing, and dancing, and the girls "dance and play and sing all day"


Mackenzie draws the parallel in theme to "Pat Malony's Family"; the analogy is not as close as Mackenzie might have us think. Malony's family came ready made; on the other hand, the family in this song are the singer's wife and his[?] eleven children. - BS

Although seemingly found only in Canada, the contents of this song seem to imply nineteenth century Irish origin, in that the grown boys are still at home; with so little land in Ireland, the children tended to stay at home until the girls married and the oldest boy inherited upon his father's death. This had a tendency to control population, but obviously not in this care.... - RBW

Cross references


  1. Mackenzie 144, "The Poor Hard-Working Man" (1 text)
  2. Roud #3284
  3. BI, Mack144


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1928 (Mackenzie)
Found in: Canada(Mar)