“The Private Still (The Gauger's Song)”


A guager believes a private (illegal) still can be found near Dublin. He asks Pat's aid, offering fifty pounds. Pat promises to lead him there. After a long trip, they see Pat's soldier brother: "They won't make him a corporal, so he's a private still"


Morton-Ulster: "A 'Gauger' was a member of the Revenue Police, who until their disbandment in the mid 1850s, had been charged with the suppression of illicit distillation - poteen making." - BS

Broadside LOCSinging sb30417b: H. De Marsan dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS


  • Bodleian, Firth c.14(272), "The Private Still" ("An exciseman once in Dublin at the time that I was there"), H. Disley (London), 1860-1883; also 2806 b.11(41), 2806 c.16(279), Firth b.26(131), Firth c.20(100), Harding B 11(3991), "The Private Still"
  • LOCSinging, sb30417b, "A Private Still," H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878


  1. SHenry H103, pp. 55-56, "The Private Still" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Morton-Ulster 46, "The Gauger's Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Morton-Maguire 22, pp. 51-52,112,165-166, "The Gauger's Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. O'Conor, p. 60, "A Private Still" (1 text)
  6. Roud #2342
  7. BI, HHH103


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1879 (broadside, LOCSinging sb30417b)
Found in: Ireland