The fiddle player sat upon the stage
Surveying all she saw;
The dancers pranced upon the floor
As many more came through the door
And walked on down the hall.
Beside the band the caller stood,
He looked at his cards and frowned:
Circles and squares raced through his head
As the new dancers stood around in dread
Or fell down on the ground.
The banjo was played by a drunken fool
Who’s wits were drowned in booze;
But even Ale couldn’t make him so daft
That he would forget his banjo craft
Or cause him his skill to lose.
Beside him sat a mandolin,
His hands o’er the strings took flight
He’d stamp and stomp in time to the beat
While his fingers tried to keep up with his feat
And his eyes watered with delight.
There also played a sweet guitar,
Without a penny to his name,
But he was rich in other things,
Music and dance were his diamond rings
And he loved them all the same.
Far upstage the drum stood tall
But its player was fast asleep;
He always woke before his cue
And with the rest he’d pay his due
And work to earn his keep.
The bandmaster glanced into the crowd,
Then signaled the fiddler to start
With a neck-breaking tune
By the light of the moon
To quicken the pace of every heart.
The banjo and guitar strummed madly away,
With a squack and a screech they played,
In the key of G,
To a veritable sea
Of dancers well arrayed.
The fiddler started to quicken her pace
And the dancers became a blur
Of tapping feet and moves so neat
That the caller ran off down the street,
Forgetting just where they were.
No matter that the caller dropped out;
His dancers now knew the drill.
Each petronella and dosido
They executed with much gusto,
Never allowing their feet to still.
The mandolin made a mournful twang,
As all its strings did snap;
With a whoop and a holler he jumped from the stage
And started to dance with a passion and rage
Til his feet could no longer tap.
Faster and faster the band played on,
The fiddle player kept the time,
With a start and a yalp the drum player woke
He thought the whole thing a mighty fine joke
So he played without reason or rhyme.
As the next phrase started up again
With a faster pace than before,
The drum head broke with all the strain
Of beating hands like falling rain,
So he threw it right out the door!
The bandmaster knew their time had come
They couldn’t keep up with the pace,
So he threw up one hand
To stop the band
But only the guitar fell out of the race.
The fiddle and banjo still played on
Paying no heed to the crowd
With a yip and a yaw,
and a mighty yee-haw
They played both soft and loud.
Finally the banjo could endure no more
His fingers had all gone wrong
With one last strum
And a bit of drop thumb
He finished up his song.
Now only the fiddle player could still be heard
She bowed with all her might
Till the slow break of day
Gave her quite a sight!
Daylight crept into the hall,
(The clock read half-past four)
And though the dance was finished at last
The dancers into sleep had passed
And were lying on the floor!