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“The Champion of Moose Hill” tells the true, comic story of a dance gone awry for one poor, inebriated soul.
1. You people all, both great and small, I pray you lend an ear; My name and occupation you presently shall hear. My name it is bold Emery Mace, I practice fistic skill – Oh, that fatal night when I got tight and knocked out on Moose Hill.
2. On that fatal day I chanced to stray to Moose Hill for a spree; It was the plan of every man to prove my destiny. I saw it in their faces and I read it on the bill That if I got tight I’d have to fight that night upon Moose Hill.
3. I let them run and have their fun, I hoed right in with them; There was Mrs. Giles, she was all smiles; I saw her wink at Nahum. Then Nahum he jumped and grabbed me and he tried to hold me still, While Mrs. Giles the club she piles upon me at Moose Hill.
4. The first blow that she struck me fell square across my head; For twenty minutes I lay there – they thought that I was dead. [The women they revived me then, they did try their skill, For they thought that I must surely die that night upon Moose Hill.]
5. My brother Fred stood at my head, most bitterly did cry; The poor little lad he felt so bad, he thought that I must die. And he knew that he alone was left to pay the funeral bill, For he thought that I was penniless and murdered on Moose Hill.
6. I didn’t die, I’ll tell you why: my skull was only cracked; But little you know the terrible blow that lady gave poor Mack; It would have slain a tiger or killed a wild gorill’, But you know that Muck had better luck than to be murdered on Moose Hill.
7. I fought them all, both big and small, for the worst I didn’t care; I never fought them with a club, I always fought them fair. I licked the Amherst champion and Fred Titus nearly killed, But I lost the belt by a single welt from a lady on Moose Hill.
8. And now I’m done, my race is run; my fighting days are o’er, And from the ring I’ll gently spring and mount the stage no more; But I’ll confess when I am pressed it’s sore against my will That Helen bold the belt should hold as the champion of Moose Hill.
The Champion of Moose Hill, Raymond Mace, Osborn, Maine, Larry Gorman, Alden Mace, Mose Estey, The Union River Drivers, Emery “Muck” Mace, Annie Giles, Nahum Jordan, Helen Jordan Giles, ballad
For a fuller history of the song and the source of the quoted passages, see Ives, Edward D.Larry Gorman: The Man Who Made the Songs. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 1993, 95-97; for the comparison to “The Champion of Court Hill,” see page 163. Alden Mace’s singing of this song is part of NA 1.12-1.14. For more references see Eckstorm, Fannie Hardy and Mary Winslow Smyth.Minstrelsy of Maine: Folk-Songs and Ballads of the Woods and the Coast. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1927, 126-28; and Laws, G. Malcolm, Jr. Native American Balladry. Revised Edition. American Folklore Society, Bibliographical and Special Series, 1. Philadelphia: American Folklore Society, 1964, 273 (dH37).
Ethnomusicology | Folklore | Oral History
Mace, Raymond. 1968. “The Champion of Moose Hill.” NA474, CD23.13. Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History, Raymond H. Fogler Special Collections Department, University of Maine.