tanned ones hide

The Derby Ram (song)

The Derby Ram or As I was Going to Derby is a traditional comic English folk song (Roud #126) that tells the story of a ram of gargantuan proportions and the difficulties involved in butchering and otherwise processing its carcass.


Llewellyn Jewitt wrote about the song in his The Ballads and Songs of Derbyshire of 1867, asserting that song had been alluded to for at least a century before that.

The song and the association of a ram with the town of Derby has been incorporated by a number of groups based there. In 1855, the First Regiment of Derbyshire Militia adopted a ram as their mascot and the ballad as their regimental song, a tradition that has continued into the 95th Derbyshire Regiment. Similarly, the football team, Derby County F.C. (nicknamed "The Rams"), have adopted it as their anthem, also taking the ram as their club mascot. There are a number of References to a ram throughout the architecture of Derby - perhaps the most notable is a large street sculpture on the junction of East Street and Albion Street by Michael Pegler.

The song was adapted by the English composer John Wall Callcott (1766-1821) into a 3 part glee "As I was going to Derby"


The following version is the one transcribed by Llewellynn Jewitt in The Ballads and Songs of Derbyshire (1867). Real Audio and MIDI versions of the tune can be found at this site

As I was going to Darby, Sir,
All on a market day,
I met the finest Ram, Sir,
That ever was fed on hay.
Daddle-i-day, daddle-i-day,
Fal-de-ral, fal-de-ral, daddle-i-day.

This Ram was fat behind, Sir,
This Ram was fat before,
This Ram was ten yards high, Sir,
Indeed he was no more.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

The Wool upon his back, Sir,
Reached up unto the sky,
The Eagles made their nests there, Sir,
For I heard the young ones cry.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

The Wool upon his belly, Sir,
It dragged upon the ground,
It was sold in Darby town, Sir,
For forty thousand pound.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

The space between his horns, Sir,
Was as far as a man could reach,
And there they built a pulpit
For the Parson there to preach.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

The teeth that were in his mouth, Sir,
Were like a regiment of men;
And the tongue that hung between them, Sir,
Would have dined them twice and again.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

This Ram jumped o'er a wall, Sir,
His tail caught on a briar,
It reached from Darby town, Sir,
All into Leicestershire.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

And of this tail so long, Sir,
'Twas ten miles and an ell,
They made a goodly rope, Sir,
To toll the market bell.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

This Ram had four legs to walk on, Sir,
This Ram had four legs to stand,
And every leg he had, Sir,
Stood on an acre of land.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

The Butcher that killed this Ram, Sir,
Was drownded in the blood,
And the boy that held the pail, Sir,
Was carried away in the flood.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

All the maids in Darby, Sir,
Came begging for his horns,
To take them to coopers,
To make them milking gawns.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

The little boys of Darby, Sir,
They came to beg his eyes,
To kick about the streets, Sir,
For they were football size.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

The tanner that tanned its hide, Sir,
Would never be poor any more,
For when he had tanned and retched it,
It covered all Sinfin Moor.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

The Jaws that were in his head, Sir,
They were so fine and thin,
They were sold to a Methodist Parson,
For a pulpit to preach in.
Daddle-i-day, &c.

Indeed, Sir, this is true, Sir,
I never was taught to lie,
And had you been to Darby, Sir,
You'd have seen it as well as I.
Daddle-i-day, daddle-i-day,
Fal-de-ral, fal-de-ral, daddle-i-day.


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