“Hi Ho Jerum”

Alternate titles: “Hi Ro Jerum”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: Early 1950s (recording, Sam Hinton)
Keywords: poverty humorous warning hardheartedness death begging Hell
Found in: US

Description

"There was a rich man and he lived in Jerusalem, Glory hallelujah hi ro je-rum." The rich man rejects a request for help from a "human wreckium." The poor "wreckium" dies and goes to "Heavium"; the rich man ends up in "Hellium"

Long description

Macaronic song with pseudo-Latin phrases, e.g. "The rich man died, but he didn't fare so wellium/He couldn't get to Heaven, so he had to go to Hellium." In some versions, it's a retelling of the Dives and Lazarus tale: the poor man at the rich man's gate asks for bread; the rich man calls a "policium"; when they die, the poor man goes to Heaven, the rich man goes to Hell. Chorus inevitably includes the line, "Glory Hallelujah, Hi-Ho-Jerum" or similar.

Notes

This, obviously, is Jesus's parable of the rich man and Lazarus, with the names removed and a trace of feeble humor added. For background, see the other Lazarus songs. - RBW

This song has bawdy variants; I'm surprised they didn't turn up in Cray. - PJS

Cross references

References

  1. Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 184, "There Was a Rich Man Who Lived in Jerusalem" (1 text, tune referenced)
  2. Silber-FSWB, p. 25, "The Rich Man and the Poor Man" (1 text)
  3. DT, RICHPOOR*
  4. Roud #4571
  5. BI, FSWB025