Heenan and Sayers
Collected from JOE WATSON
Recorded 1973 onwards
Note: The texts typed in italics were the missing lines not remembered by Joe Watson. They come from ‘Folksong of Britain and Ireland’ edited by Peter Kennedy.
SITE SOURCE: Joe Watson – Folklore Unit
Heenan and Sayers
Come all you lovers of the fisticuff; give attention to my song,
I’ll sing you a verse or two and it won’t detain you long,
It is to describe a champion fight, your time I now employ
Which took place between Tom Sayers and the Bold Benicia Boy.
So Hurrah, me boys, for Heenan and Sayers we will sing.
They were the best and bravest, who fought in a British ring.
There was not a man in Europe with Sayers could contend
So Heenan from America a challenge he did send,
Says Heenan “I’ll fight any man, that stands on English ground,
For any sum or wager up to a thousand pounds.”
When Tom he heard the challenge he said, “Oh let him come,
For I know he is a boaster and a bit of Yankee fun,”
But Erin’s son did fearless come, across the Atlantic wave,
To fight with our champion, the bravest of the brave.
It was on the morning of the fight Tom’s second he did say,
Remember Evan Jones, my boy, and do your best today,
“I’ll do my best to win”, said Tom, “and that you know quite well,
For the man who takes my belt from me, will take my life as well.”
The very next round soon after, the champion he let go,
Straight on the nose of Heenan, and the claret it did flow,
But “Hurrah!” said Heenan; “I owe you now a score,
I’ll pay you back with interest in not many rounds more.”
The very next round after Jack Heenan gave a spring,
The like was never seen before inside of a British ring,
The champion dropped, though he was shot, and lay quiet on the ground,
And out cries bold Jack Heenan “I claim the first knock down”
They battled for an hour or more ’till Heenan was quite blind,
And Sayers with a broken arm, such men you rarely find.
The people they all stood amazed, such a fight they never saw,
They rushed the ring and stopped the fight that ended in a draw.
All honour to Jack Heenan, likewise our champion brave,
And we hope a good subscription to the stranger will be made,
And if these two should battle for the champion belt again,
We want no favours to be shown but let the best man win.