Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of England
Robert Bell

Part 5 out of 6

You shall spend not with cheaters or cozeners your life,
Nor waste it on profligate beauty;
And when you are wedded be kind to your wife,
And true to all petticoat duty.

The CANDIDATE says 'I will,' and kisses the horn in obedience to
the command of the CLERK, who exclaims in a loud and solemn tone,
'Kiss the horn, sir!'

And while you thus solemnly swear to be kind,
And shield and protect from disaster,
This part of your oath you must bear it in mind,
That you, and not she, is the master.

Clerk. 'Kiss the horn, sir!'

You shall pledge no man first when a woman is near,
For neither 'tis proper nor right, sir;
Nor, unless you prefer it, drink small for strong beer,
Nor eat brown bread when you can get white, sir.

Clerk. 'Kiss the horn, sir!'

You shall never drink brandy when wine you can get,
Say when good port or sherry is handy;
Unless that your taste on spirit is set,
In which case--you MAY, sir, drink brandy!

Clerk. 'Kiss the horn, sir!'

To kiss with the maid when the mistress is kind,
Remember that you must be loth, sir;
But if the maid's fairest, your oath doesn't bind, -
Or you may, if you like it, kiss both, sir!

Clerk. 'Kiss the horn, sir!'

Should you ever return, take this oath here again,
Like a man of good sense, leal and true, sir;
And be sure to bring with you some more merry men,
That they on the horn may swear too, sir.

Landlord. Now, sir, if you please, sign your name in that book,
and if you can't write, make your mark, and the clerk of the court
will attest it.

Here one of the above requests is complied with.

Landlord. You will please pay half-a-crown for court fees, and
what you please to the clerk.

This necessary ceremony being gone through, the important business
terminates by the LANDLORD saying, 'God bless the King [or Queen]
and the lord of the manor;' to which the CLERK responds, 'Amen,

N.B. The court fees are always returned in wines, spirits, or
porter, of which the Landlord and Clerk are invited to partake.


[The following song is sung at Fairlop fair, one of the gayest of
the numerous saturnalia kept by the good citizens of London. The
venerable oak has disappeared; but the song is nevertheless song,
and the curious custom of riding through the fair, seated in boats,
still continues to be observed.]

Come, come, my boys, with a hearty glee,
To Fairlop fair, bear chorus with me;
At Hainault forest is known very well,
This famous oak has long bore the bell.

Cho. Let music sound as the boat goes round,
If we tumble on the ground, we'll be merry, I'll be bound;
We will booze it away, dull care we will defy,
And be happy on the first Friday in July.

At Tainhall forest, Queen Anne she did ride,
And beheld the beautiful oak by her side,
And after viewing it from bottom to top,
She said that her court should be at Fairlop.

It is eight fathom round, spreads an acre of ground,
They plastered it round to keep the tree sound.
So we'll booze it away, dull care we'll defy,
And be happy on the first Friday in July.

About a century ago, as I have heard say,
This fair it was kept by one Daniel Day,
A hearty good fellow as ever could be,
His coffin was made of a limb of the tree.

With black-strap and perry he made his friends merry,
All sorrow for to drown with brandy and sherry.
So we'll booze it away, dull care we'll defy,
And be happy on the first Friday in July.

At Tainhall forest there stands a tree,
And it has performed a wonderful bounty,
It is surrounded by woods and plains,
The merry little warblers chant their strains.

So we'll dance round the tree, and merry we will be,
Every year we'll agree the fair for to see;
And we'll booze it away, dull care we'll defy,
And be happy on the first Friday in July.


[This song, said to be translated from the Cornish, 'was taken
down,' says Mr. Sandys, 'from the recital of a modern Corypheus, or
leader of a parish choir,' who assigned to it a very remote, but
indefinite, antiquity.]

As Tom was a-walking one fine summer's morn,
When the dazies and goldcups the fields did adorn;
He met Cozen Mal, with a tub on her head,
Says Tom, 'Cozen Mal, you might speak if you we'd.'

But Mal stamped along, and appeared to be shy,
And Tom singed out, 'Zounds! I'll knaw of thee why?'
So back he tore a'ter, in a terrible fuss,
And axed cozen Mal, 'What's the reason of thus?'

'Tom Treloar,' cried out Mal, 'I'll nothing do wi' 'ee,
Go to Fanny Trembaa, she do knaw how I'm shy;
Tom, this here t'other daa, down the hill thee didst stap,
And dab'd a great doat fig {48} in Fan Trembaa's lap.'

'As for Fanny Trembaa, I ne'er taalked wi' her twice,
And gived her a doat fig, they are so very nice;
So I'll tell thee, I went to the fear t'other day,
And the doat figs I boft, why I saved them away.'

Says Mal, 'Tom Treloar, ef that be the caase,
May the Lord bless for ever that sweet pretty faace;
Ef thee'st give me thy doat figs thee'st boft in the fear,
I'll swear to thee now, thee shu'st marry me here.'


[A miller, especially if he happen to be the owner of a soke-mill,
has always been deemed fair game for the village satirist. Of the
numerous songs written in ridicule of the calling of the 'rogues in
grain,' the following is one of the best and most popular: its
quaint humour will recommend it to our readers. For the tune, see
Popular Music.]

There was a crafty miller, and he
Had lusty sons, one, two, and three:
He called them all, and asked their will,
If that to them he left his mill.

He called first to his eldest son,
Saying, 'My life is almost run;
If I to you this mill do make,
What toll do you intend to take?'

'Father,' said he, 'my name is Jack;
Out of a bushel I'll take a peck,
From every bushel that I grind,
That I may a good living find.'

'Thou art a fool!' the old man said,
'Thou hast not well learned thy trade;
This mill to thee I ne'er will give,
For by such toll no man can live.'

He called for his middlemost son,
Saying, 'My life is almost run;
If I to you this mill do make,
What toll do you intend to take?'

'Father,' says he, 'my name is Ralph;
Out of a bushel I'll take a half,
From every bushel that I grind,
That I may a good living find.'

'Thou art a fool!' the old man said,
'Thou hast not well learned thy trade;
This mill to thee I ne'er will give,
For by such toll no man can live.'

He called for his youngest son,
Saying, 'My life is almost run;
If I to you this mill do make,
What toll do you intend to take?'

'Father,' said he, 'I'm your only boy,
For taking toll is all my joy!
Before I will a good living lack,
I'll take it all, and forswear the sack!'

'Thou art my boy!' the old man said,
'For thou hast right well learned thy trade;
This mill to thee I give,' he cried, -
And then he turned up his toes and died.


[The following song was taken down from recitation in 1847. Of its
history nothing is known; but we are strongly inclined to believe
that it may be assigned to the early part of the seventeenth
century, and that it relates to the visit of Prince Charles and
Buckingham, under the assumed names of Jack and Tom, to Spain, in
1623. Some curious references to the adventures of the Prince and
his companion, on their masquerading tour, will be found in
Halliwell's Letters of the Kings of England, vol. ii.]

I'm a north countrie-man, in Redesdale born,
Where our land lies lea, and grows ne corn, -
And such two lads to my house never com,
As them two lads called Jack and Tom!

Now, Jack and Tom, they're going to the sea;
I wish them both in good companie!
They're going to seek their fortunes ayont the wide sea,
Far, far away frae their oan countrie!

They mounted their horses, and rode over the moor,
Till they came to a house, when they rapped at the door;
And out came Jockey, the hostler-man.
'D'ye brew ony ale? D'ye sell ony beer?
Or have ye ony lodgings for strangers here?'

'Ne, we brew ne ale, nor we sell ne beer,
Nor we have ne lodgings for strangers here.'
So he bolted the door, and bade them begone,
For there was ne lodgings there for poor Jack and Tom.

They mounted their horses, and rode over the plain; -
Dark was the night, and down fell the rain;
Till a twinkling light they happened to spy,
And a castle and a house they were close by.

They rode up to the house, and they rapped at the door,
And out came Jockey, the hosteler.
'D'ye brew ony ale? D'ye sell ony beer?
Or have ye ony lodgings for strangers here?'

'Yes, we have brewed ale this fifty lang year,
And we have got lodgings for strangers here.'
So the roast to the fire, and the pot hung on,
'Twas all to accommodate poor Jack and Tom.

When supper was over, and all was SIDED DOWN,
The glasses of wine did go merrily roun'.
'Here is to thee, Jack, and here is to thee,
And all the bonny lasses in our countrie!'
'Here is to thee, Tom, and here is to thee,
And look they may LEUK for thee and me!'

'Twas early next morning, before the break of day,
They mounted their horses, and so they rode away.
Poor Jack, he died upon a far foreign shore,
And Tom, he was never, never heard of more!


[Ours is the common version of this popular song; it varies
considerably from the one given by D'Urfey, in the Pills to purge
Melancholy. From the names of Nolly and Joan and the allusion to
ale, we are inclined to consider the song as a lampoon levelled at
Cromwell, and his wife, whom the Royalist party nick-named 'Joan.'
The Protector's acquaintances (depicted as low and vulgar
tradesmen) are here humorously represented paying him a
congratulatory visit on his change of fortune, and regaling
themselves with the 'Brewer's' ale. The song is mentioned in
Thackeray's Catalogue, under the title of Joan's Ale's New; which
may be regarded as circumstantial evidence in favour of our
hypothesis. The air is published in Popular Music, accompanying
three stanzas of a version copied from the Douce collection. The
first verse in Mr. Chappell's book runs as follows:-

There was a jovial tinker,
Who was a good ale drinker,
He never was a shrinker,
Believe me this is true;
And he came from the Weald of Kent,
When all his money was gone and spent,
Which made him look like a Jack a-lent.
And Joan's ale is new, my boys,
And Joan's ale is new.]

There were six jovial tradesmen,
And they all sat down to drinking,
For they were a jovial crew;
They sat themselves down to be merry;
And they called for a bottle of sherry,
You're welcome as the hills, says Nolly,
While Joan's ale is new, brave boys,
While Joan's ale is new.

The first that came in was a soldier,
With his firelock over his shoulder,
Sure no one could be bolder,
And a long broad-sword he drew:
He swore he would fight for England's ground,
Before the nation should be run down;
He boldly drank their healths all round,
While Joan's ale was new.

The next that came in was a hatter,
Sure no one could be blacker,
And he began to chatter,
Among the jovial crew:
He threw his hat upon the ground,
And swore every man should spend his pound,
And boldly drank their hearths all round,
While Joan's ale was new.

The next that came in was a dyer,
And he sat himself down by the fire,
For it was his heart's desire
To drink with the jovial crew:
He told the landlord to his face,
The chimney-corner should be his place,
And there he'd sit and dye his face,
While Joan's ale was new.

The next that came in was a tinker,
And he was no small beer drinker,
And he was no strong ale shrinker,
Among the jovial crew:
For his brass nails were made of metal,
And he swore he'd go and mend a kettle,
Good heart, how his hammer and nails did rattle,
When Joan's ale was new!

The next that came in was a tailor,
With his bodkin, shears, and thimble,
He swore he would be nimble
Among the jovial crew:
They sat and they called for ale so stout,
Till the poor tailor was almost broke,
And was forced to go and pawn his coat,
While Joan's ale was new.

The next that came in was a ragman,
With his rag-bag over his shoulder,
Sure no one could be bolder
Among the jovial crew.
They sat and called for pots and glasses,
Till they were all drunk as asses,
And burnt the old ragman's bag to ashes,
While Joan's ale was new.


[This ancient Gloucestershire song has been sung at the annual
dinners of the Gloucestershire Society, from the earliest period of
the existence of that institution; and in 1776 there was an
Harmonic Society at Cirencester, which always opened its meetings
with George Ridler's Oven in full chorus.

The substance of the following key to this very curious song is
furnished by Mr. H. Gingell, who extracts it from the Annual Report
of the Gloucestershire Society for 1835. The annual meeting of
this Society is held at Bristol in the month of August, when the
members dine, and a branch meeting, which was formerly held at the
Crown and Anchor in the Strand, is now annually held at the
Thatched House Tavern, St. James's. George Ridler's Oven is sung
at both meetings, and the late Duke of Beaufort used to lead off
the glee in capital style. The words have a secret meaning, well
known to the members of the Gloucestershire Society, which was
founded in 1657, three years before the Restoration of Charles II.
The Society consisted of Royalists, who combined together for the
purpose of restoring the Stuarts. The Cavalier party was supported
by all the old Roman Catholic families of the kingdom; and some of
the Dissenters, who were disgusted with Cromwell, occasionally lent
them a kind of passive aid.

First Verse.--By 'George Ridler' is meant King Charles I. The
'oven' was the Cavalier party. The 'stwons' that 'built the oven,'
and that 'came out of the Bleakney quaar,' were the immediate
followers of the Marquis of Worcester, who held out long and
steadfastly for the Royal cause at Raglan Castle, which was not
surrendered till 1646, and was in fact the last stronghold retained
for the King. 'His head did grow above his hair,' is an allusion
to the crown, the head of the State, which the King wore 'above his

Second Verse.--This means that the King, 'before he died,' boasted
that notwithstanding his present adversity, the ancient
constitution of the kingdom was so good, and its vitality so great,
that it would surpass and outlive every other form of government.

Third Verse.--'Dick the treble, Jack the mean, and George the
bass,' mean King, Lords, and Commons. The injunction to 'let every
man sing in his own place,' is a warning to each of the three
estates of the realm to preserve its proper position, and not to
encroach on each other's prerogative.

Fourth Verse.--'Mine hostess's maid' is an allusion to the Queen,
who was a Roman Catholic, and her maid, the Church. The singer we
must suppose was one of the leaders of the party, and his 'dog' a
companion, or faithful official of the Society, and the song was
sung on occasions when the members met together socially; and thus,
as the Roman Catholics were Royalists, the allusion to the mutual
attachment between the 'maid' and 'my dog and I,' is plain and

Fifth Verse.--The 'dog' had a 'trick of visiting maids when they
were sick.' The meaning is, that when any of the members were in
distress or desponding, or likely to give up the Royal cause in
despair, the officials, or active members visited, counselled, and
assisted them.

Sixth Verse.--The 'dog' was 'good to catch a hen,' a 'duck,' or a
'goose.'--That is, to enlist as members of the Society any who were
well affected to the Royal cause.

Seventh Verse.--'The good ale tap' is an allusion, under cover of
the similarity in sound between the words ale and aisle, to the
Church, of which it was dangerous at the time to be an avowed
follower; and so the members were cautioned that indiscretion might
lead to their discovery and 'overthrow.'

Eighth Verse.--The allusion here is to those unfaithful supporters
of the Royal cause, who 'welcomed' the members of the Society when
it appeared to be prospering, but 'parted' from them in adversity.

Ninth Verse.--An expression of the singer's wish that if he should
die he may be buried with his faithful companion, as representing
the principles of the Society, under the good aisles of the church.

The following text has been collated with a version published in
Notes and Queries, from the 'fragments of a MS. found in the
speech-house of Dean.' The tune is the same as that of the
Wassailers' Song, and is printed in Popular Music. Other ditties
appear to have been founded on this ancient piece. The fourth,
seventh, and ninth verses are in the old ditty called My Dog and I:
and the eighth verse appears in another old song. The air and
words bear some resemblance to Todlen Hame.]

The stwons that built George Ridler's oven,
And thauy keam vrom the Bleakney quaar,
And George he wur a jolly old mon,
And his yead it grow'd above his yare.

One thing of George Ridler I must commend,
And that wur vor a notable thing;
He mead his brags avoore he died,
Wi' any dree brooders his zons zshould zing.

There's Dick the treble, and John the meean,
(Let every mon zing in his auwn pleace,)
And George he wur the elder brother,
And therevoor he would zing the beass.

Mine hostess's moid, (and her neaum 'twour Nell,)
A pretty wench, and I lov'd her well;
I lov'd her well, good reauzon why,
Because zshe loved my dog and I.

My dog is good to catch a hen;
A dug or goose is vood for men;
And where good company I spy,
O thether gwoes my dog and I.

My mwother told I, when I wur young,
If I did vollow the strong-beer pwoot,
That drenk would prov my awverdrow,
And meauk me wear a threadbare cwoat.

My dog has gotten zitch a trick,
To visit moids when thauy be zick;
When thauy be zick and like to die,
O thether gwoes my dog and I.

When I have dree zixpences under my thumb,
O then I be welcome wherever I come;
But when I have none, O, then I pass by, -
'Tis poverty pearts good companie.

If I should die, as it may hap,
My greauve shall be under the good yeal tap;
In voulded yarms there wool us lie,
Cheek by jowl, my dog and I.


[This still popular song is quoted by Grose in his Olio, where it
is made the subject of a burlesque commentary, the covert political
allusions having evidently escaped the penetration of the
antiquary. The reader familiar with the annals of the Commonwealth
and the Restoration, will readily detect the leading points of the
allegory. The 'Carrion Crow' in the oak is Charles II., who is
represented as that bird of voracious appetite, because he deprived
the puritan clergy of their livings; perhaps, also, because he
ordered the bodies of the regicides to be exhumed--as Ainsworth
says in one of his ballads:-

The carrion crow is a sexton bold,
He raketh the dead from out of the mould.

The religion of the 'old sow,' whoever she may be, is clearly
pointed out by her little pigs praying for her soul. The 'tailor'
is not easily identified. It is possibly intended for some puritan
divine of the name of Taylor, who wrote and preached against both
prelacy and papacy, but with an especial hatred of the latter. In
the last verse he consoles himself by the reflection that,
notwithstanding the deprivations, his party will have enough
remaining from the voluntary contributions of their adherents. The
'cloak' which the tailor is engaged in cutting out, is the Genevan
gown, or cloak; the 'spoon' in which he desires his wife to bring
treacle, is apparently an allusion to the 'spatula' upon which the
wafer is placed in the administration of the Eucharist; and the
introduction of 'chitterlings and black-puddings' into the last
verse seems to refer to a passage in Rabelais, where the same
dainties are brought in to personify those who, in the matter of
fasting, are opposed to Romish practices. The song is found in
collections of the time of Charles II.]

The carrion crow he sat upon an oak,
And he spied an old tailor a cutting out a cloak.
Heigho! the carrion crow.

The carrion crow he began for to rave,
And he called the tailor a lousy knave!
Heigho! the carrion crow.

'Wife, go fetch me my arrow and my bow,
I'll have a shot at that carrion crow.'
Heigho! the carrion crow.

The tailor he shot, and he missed his mark,
But he shot the old sow through the heart.
Heigho! the carrion crow.

'Wife, go fetch me some treacle in a spoon,
For the old sow's in a terrible swoon!'
Heigho! the carrion crow.

The old sow died, and the bells they did toll,
And the little pigs prayed for the old sow's soul!
Heigho! the carrion crow.

'Never mind,' said the tailor, 'I don't care a flea,
There'll be still black-puddings, souse, and chitterlings for me.'
Heigho! the carrion crow.


[In Chappell's Popular Music is a much longer version of The
Leathern Bottel. The following copy is the one sung at the present
time by the country-people in the county of Somerset. It has been
communicated to our pages by Mr. Sandys.]

God above, who rules all things,
Monks and abbots, and beggars and kings,
The ships that in the sea do swim,
The earth, and all that is therein;
Not forgetting the old cow's hide,
And everything else in the world beside:
And I wish his soul in heaven may dwell,
Who first invented this leathern bottel!

Oh! what do you say to the glasses fine?
Oh! they shall have no praise of mine;
Suppose a gentleman sends his man
To fill them with liquor, as fast as he can,
The man he falls, in coming away,
And sheds the liquor so fine and gay;
But had it been in the leathern bottel,
And the stopper been in, 'twould all have been well!

Oh! what do you say to the tankard fine?
Oh! it shall have no praise of mine;
Suppose a man and his wife fall out, -
And such things happen sometimes, no doubt, -
They pull and they haul; in the midst of the fray
They shed the liquor so fine and gay;
But had it been in the leathern bottel,
And the stopper been in, 'twould all have been well!

Now, when this bottel it is worn out,
Out of its sides you may cut a clout;
This you may hang upon a pin, -
'Twill serve to put odd trifles in;
Ink and soap, and candle-ends,
For young beginners have need of such friends.
And I wish his soul in heaven may dwell,
Who first invented the leathern bottel!


[This is a countryman's whistling song, and the only one of the
kind which we remember to have heard. It is very ancient, and a
great favourite. The farmer's wife has an adventure somewhat
resembling the hero's in the burlesque version of Don Giovanni.
The tune is Lilli burlero, and the song is sung as follows:- the
first line of each verse is given as a solo; then the tune is
continued by a chorus of whistlers, who whistle that portion of the
air which in Lilli burlero would be sung to the words, Lilli
burlero bullen a la. The songster then proceeds with the tune, and
sings the whole of the verse through, after which the strain is
resumed and concluded by the whistlers. The effect, when
accompanied by the strong whistles of a group of lusty countrymen,
is very striking, and cannot be adequately conveyed by description.
This song constitutes the 'traditionary verses' upon which Burns
founded his Carle of Killyburn Braes.]

There was an old farmer in Sussex did dwell,

[Chorus of whistlers.]

There was an old farmer in Sussex did dwell,
And he had a bad wife, as many knew well.

[Chorus of whistlers.]

Then Satan came to the old man at the plough, -
'One of your family I must have now.

'It is not your eldest son that I crave,
But it is your old wife, and she I will have.'

'O, welcome! good Satan, with all my heart,
I hope you and she will never more part.'

Now Satan has got the old wife on his back,
And he lugged her along, like a pedlar's pack.

He trudged away till they came to his hall-gate,
Says he, 'Here! take in an old Sussex chap's mate!'

O! then she did kick the young imps about, -
Says one to the other, 'Let's try turn her out.'

She spied thirteen imps all dancing in chains,
She up with her pattens, and beat out their brains.

She knocked the old Satan against the wall, -
'Let's try turn her out, or she'll murder us all!'

Now he's bundled her up on his back amain,
And to her old husband he took her again.

'I have been a tormenter the whole of my life,
But I ne'er was tormenter till I met with your wife.'


[This song still retains its popularity in the North of England,
and, when sung with humour, never fails to elicit roars of
laughter. A Scotch version may be found in Herd's Collection,
1769, and also in Cunningham's Songs of England and Scotland,
London, 1835. We cannot venture to give an opinion as to which is
the original; but the English set is of unquestionable antiquity.
Our copy was obtained from Yorkshire. It has been collated with
one printed at the Aldermary press, and preserved in the third
volume of the Roxburgh Collection. The tune is peculiar to the

O! I went into the stable, and there for to see, {49}
And there I saw three horses stand, by one, by two, and by three;
O! I called to my loving wife, and 'Anon, kind sir!' quoth she;
'O! what do these three horses here, without the leave of me?'

'Why, you old fool! blind fool! can't you very well see,
These are three milking cows my mother sent to me?'
'Ods bobs! well done! milking cows with saddles on!
The like was never known!'
Old Wichet a cuckold went out, and a cuckold he came home!

O! I went into the kitchen, and there for to see,
And there I saw three swords hang, by one, by two, quoth she;
O! I called to my loving wife, and 'Anon, kind sir!'
'O! what do these three swords do here, without the leave of me?'

'Why, you old fool! blind fool! can't you very well see,
These are three roasting spits my mother sent to me?'
'Ods bobs! well done! roasting spits with scabbards on!
The like was never known!'
Old Wichet a cuckold went out, and a cuckold he came home!

O! I went into the parlour, and there for to see,
And there I saw three cloaks hang, by one, by two, and by three;
O! I called to my loving wife, and 'Anon, kind sir!' quoth she;
'O! what do these three cloaks do here, without the leave of me?'

'Why, you old fool! blind fool! can't you very well see,
These are three mantuas my mother sent to me?'
'Ods bobs! well done! mantuas with capes on!
The like was never known!'
Old Wichet a cuckold went out, and a cuckold he came home!

O! I went into the pantry, and there for to see,
And there I saw three pair of boots, {50} by one, by two, and by
O! I called to my loving wife, and 'Anon, kind sir!' quoth she;
'O! what do these three pair of boots here, without the leave of

'Why, you old fool! blind fool! can't you very well see,
These are three pudding-bags my mother sent to me?'
'Ods bobs! well done! pudding-bags with spurs on!
The like was never known!'
Old Wichet a cuckold went out, and a cuckold he came home!

O! I went into the dairy, and there for to see,
And there I saw three hats hang, by one, by two, and by three;
O! I called to my loving wife, and 'Anon, kind sir!' quoth she;
'Pray what do these three hats here, without the leave of me?'

'Why, you old fool! blind fool! can't you very well see,
These are three skimming-dishes my mother sent to me?'
'Ods bobs! well done! skimming-dishes with hat-bands on!
The like was never known!'
Old Wichet a cuckold went out, and a cuckold he came home!

O! I went into the chamber, and there for to see,
And there I saw three men in bed, by one, by two, and by three;
O! I called to my loving wife, and 'Anon, kind sir!' quoth she;
'O! what do these three men here, without the leave of me?'

'Why, you old fool! blind fool! can't you very well see,
They are three milking-maids my mother sent to me?'
'Ods bobs! well done! milking-maids with beards on!
The like was never known!'
Old Wichet a cuckold went out, and a cuckold he came home!


[This country song can be traced back a century at least, but is,
no doubt, much older. It is very popular in the West of England.
The words are spirited and characteristic. We may, perhaps, refer
the song to the days of transition, when the waggon displaced the

When first I went a-waggoning, a-waggoning did go,
I filled my parents' hearts full of sorrow, grief, and woe. {51}
And many are the hardships that I have since gone through.
And sing wo, my lads, sing wo!
Drive on my lads, I-ho! {52}
And who wouldn't lead the life of a jolly waggoner?

It is a cold and stormy night, and I'm wet to the skin,
I will bear it with contentment till I get unto the inn.
And then I'll get a drinking with the landlord and his kin.
And sing, &c.

Now summer it is coming,--what pleasure we shall see;
The small birds are a-singing on every green tree,
The blackbirds and the thrushes are a-whistling merrilie.
And sing, &c.

Now Michaelmas is coming,--what pleasure we shall find;
It will make the gold to fly, my boys, like chaff before the wind;
And every lad shall take his lass, so loving and so kind.
And sing, &c.


[This ludicrous and genuine Yorkshire song, the production of some
unknown country minstrel, obtained considerable popularity a few
years ago from the admirable singing of Emery. The incidents
actually occurred at the close of the last century, and some of the
descendants of 'Tommy Towers' were resident at Clapham till within
a very recent period, and used to take great delight in relating
the laughable adventure of their progenitor. Abey Muggins is
understood to be a sobriquet for a then Clapham innkeeper. The
village of Clapham is in the west of Yorkshire, on the high road
between Skipton and Kendal.]

Bane {53} ta Claapam town-gate {54} lived an ond Yorkshire tike,
Who i' dealing i' horseflesh hed ne'er met his like;
'Twor his pride that i' aw the hard bargains he'd hit,
He'd bit a girt monny, but nivver bin bit.

This ond Tommy Towers (bi that naam he wor knaan),
Hed an oud carrion tit that wor sheer skin an' baan;
Ta hev killed him for t' curs wad hev bin quite as well,
But 'twor Tommy opinion {55} he'd dee on himsel!

Well! yan Abey Muggins, a neighborin cheat,
Thowt ta diddle ond Tommy wad be a girt treat;
Hee'd a horse, too, 'twor war than ond Tommy's, ye see,
Fort' neet afore that hee'd thowt proper ta dee!

Thinks Abey, t' oud codger 'll nivver smoak t' trick,
I'll swop wi' him my poor deead horse for his wick, {56}
An' if Tommy I nobbut {57} can happen ta trap,
'Twill be a fine feather i' Aberram cap!

Soa to Tommy he goas, an' the question he pops:
'Betwin thy horse and mine, prithee, Tommy, what swops?
What wilt gi' me ta boot? for mine's t'better horse still!'
'Nout,' says Tommy, 'I'll swop ivven hands, an' ye will.'

Abey preaached a lang time about summat ta boot,
Insistin' that his war the liveliest brute;
But Tommy stuck fast where he first had begun,
Till Abey shook hands, and sed, 'Well, Tommy, done!

'O! Tommy,' sed Abey, 'I'ze sorry for thee,
I thowt thou'd a hadden mair white i' thy 'ee;
Good luck's wi' thy bargin, for my horse is deead.'
'Hey!' says Tommy, 'my lad, soa is min, an it's fleead?'

Soa Tommy got t' better of t' bargin, a vast,
An' cam off wi' a Yorkshireman's triumph at last;
For thof 'twixt deead horses there's not mitch to choose,
Yet Tommy war richer by t' hide an' fower shooes.


[This popular favourite is a mere abridgment and alteration of a
poem preserved in the Roxburgh Collection, called The King and
Northern Man, shewing how a poor Northumberland man (tenant to the
King) being wronged by a lawyer (his neighbour) went to the King
himself to make known his grievance. To the tune of Slut. Printed
by and for Alex. Melbourne, at the Stationer's Arms in Green Arbour
Court, in the Little Old Baily. The Percy Society printed The King
and Northern Man from an edition published in 1640. There is also
a copy preserved in the Bagford Collection, which is one of the
imprints of W. Onley. The edition of 1640 has the initials of
Martin Parker at the end, but, as Mr. Collier observes, 'There is
little doubt that the story is much older than 1640.' See preface
to Percy Society's Edition.]

There was an old chap in the west country,
A flaw in the lease the lawyers had found,
'Twas all about felling of five oak trees,
And building a house upon his own ground.
Right too looral, looral, looral--right too looral la!

Now, this old chap to Lunnun would go,
To tell the king a part of his woe,
Likewise to tell him a part of his grief,
In hopes the king would give him relief.

Now, when this old chap to Lunnun had come,
He found the king to Windsor had gone;
But if he'd known he'd not been at home,
He danged his buttons if ever he'd come.

Now, when this old chap to Windsor did stump,
The gates were barred, and all secure,
But he knocked and thumped with his oaken clump,
There's room within for I to be sure.

But when he got there, how he did stare,
To see the yeomen strutting about;
He scratched his head, and rubbed down his hair,
In the ear of a noble he gave a great shout:

'Pray, Mr. Noble, show I the King;
Is that the King that I see there?
I seed an old chap at Bartlemy fair
Look more like a king than that chap there.

'Well, Mr. King, pray how d'ye do?
I gotten for you a bit of a job,
Which if you'll be so kind as to do,
I gotten a summat for you in my fob.'

The king he took the lease in hand,
To sign it, too, he was likewise willing;
And the old chap to make a little amends,
He lugg'd out his bag, and gave him a shilling.

The king, to carry on the joke,
Ordered ten pounds to be paid down;
The farmer he stared, but nothing spoke,
And stared again, and he scratched his crown.

The farmer he stared to see so much money,
And to take it up he was likewise willing;
But if he'd a known King had got so much money,
He danged his wig if he'd gien him that shilling!


[The county of Lancaster has always been famed for its admirable
patois songs; but they are in general the productions of modern
authors, and consequently, however popular they may be, are not
within the scope of the present work. In the following humorous
production, however, we have a composition of the last century. It
is the oldest and most popular Lancashire song we have been able to
procure; and, unlike most pieces of its class, it is entirely free
from grossness and vulgarity.]

Says Jone to his wife, on a hot summer's day,
'I'm resolved i' Grinfilt no lunger to stay;
For I'll go to Owdham os fast os I can,
So fare thee weel, Grinfilt, un fare thee weel, Nan;
A soger I'll be, un brave Owdham I'll see,
Un I'll ha'e a battle wi' th' French.'

'Dear Jone,' then said Nan, un hoo bitterly cried,
Wilt be one o' th' foote, or tha meons to ride?'
'Odsounds! wench, I'll ride oather ass or a mule,
Ere I'll kewer i' Grinfilt os black as te dule,
Booath clemmink {58} un starvink, un never a fardink,
Ecod! it would drive ony mon mad.

'Aye, Jone, sin' wi' coom i' Grinfilt for t' dwell,
We'n had mony a bare meal, I con vara weel tell.'
'Bare meal! ecod! aye, that I vara weel know,
There's bin two days this wick ot we'n had nowt at o:
I'm vara near sided, afore I'll abide it,
I'll feight oather Spanish or French.'

Then says my Aunt Marget, 'Ah! Jone, thee'rt so hot,
I'd ne'er go to Owdham, boh i' Englond I'd stop.'
'It matters nowt, Madge, for to Owdham I'll go,
I'll naw clam to deeoth, boh sumbry shalt know:
Furst Frenchman I find, I'll tell him meh mind,
Un if he'll naw feight, he shall run.'

Then down th' broo I coom, for we livent at top,
I thowt I'd reach Owdharn ere ever I'd stop;
Ecod! heaw they stared when I getten to th' Mumps,
Meh owd hat i' my hond, un meh clogs full o'stumps;
Boh I soon towd um, I'r gooink to Owdham,
Un I'd ha'e battle wi' th' French.

I kept eendway thro' th' lone, un to Owdham I went,
I ask'd a recruit if te'd made up their keawnt?
'No, no, honest lad' (for he tawked like a king),
'Go wi' meh thro' the street, un thee I will bring
Where, if theaw'rt willink, theaw may ha'e a shillink.'
Ecod! I thowt this wur rare news.

He browt me to th' pleck where te measurn their height,
Un if they bin height, there's nowt said about weight;
I retched me, un stretched me, un never did flinch,
Says th' mon, 'I believe theaw 'rt meh lad to an inch.'
I thowt this'll do, I'st ha'e guineas enow,
Ecod! Owdham, brave Owdham for me.

So fare thee weel, Grinfilt, a soger I'm made,
I'n getten new shoon, un a rare cockade;
I'll feight for Owd Englond os hard os I con,
Oather French, Dutch, or Spanish, to me it's o one,
I'll make 'em to stare like a new-started hare,
Un I'll tell 'em fro' Owdham I coom.


[Nottinghamshire was, in the olden day, famous in song for the
achievements of Robin Hood and his merry men. In our times the
reckless daring of the heroes of the 'greenwood tree' has descended
to the poachers of the county, who have also found poets to
proclaim and exult over THEIR lawless exploits; and in Thornehagh-
Moor Woods we have a specimen of one of these rude, but mischievous
and exciting lyrics. The air is beautiful, and of a lively
character; and will be found in Popular Music. There is it
prevalent idea that the song is not the production of an ordinary
ballad-writer, but was written about the middle of the last century
by a gentleman of rank and education, who, detesting the English
game-laws, adopted a too successful mode of inspiring the peasantry
with a love of poaching. The song finds locality in the village of
Thornehagh, in the hundred of Newark. The common, or Moor-fields,
was inclosed about 1797, and is now no longer called by the ancient
designation. It contains eight hundred acres. The manor of
Thornehagh is the property of the ancient family of Nevile, who
have a residence on the estate.]

In Thornehagh-Moor woods, in Nottinghamshire,
Fol de rol, la re, right fol laddie, dee;
In Robin Hood's bold Nottinghamshire,
Fol de rol, la re da;

Three keepers' houses stood three-square,
And about a mile from each other they were; -
Their orders were to look after the deer.
Fol de rol, la re da.

I went out with my dogs one night, -
The moon shone clear, and the stars gave light;
Over hedges and ditches, and steyls
With my two dogs close at my heels,
To catch a fine buck in Thornehagh-Moor fields.

Oh! that night we had bad luck,
One of my very best dogs was stuck;
He came to me both breeding and lame, -
Right sorry was I to see the same, -
He was not able to follow the game.

I searched his wounds, and found them slight,
Some keeper has done this out of spite;
But I'll take my pike-staff,--that's the plan!
I'll range the woods till I find the man,
And I'll tan his hide right well,--if I can!

I ranged the woods and groves all night,
I ranged the woods till it proved daylight;
The very first thing that then I found,
Was a good fat buck that lay dead on the ground;
I knew my dogs gave him his death-wound.

I hired a butcher to skin the game,
Likewise another to sell the same;
The very first buck he offered for sale,
Was to an old [hag] that sold bad ale,
And she sent us three poor lads to gaol.

The quarter sessions we soon espied,
At which we all were for to be tried;
The Chairman laughed the matter to scorn,
He said the old woman was all forsworn,
And unto pieces she ought to be torn.

The sessions are over, and we are clear!
The sessions are over, and we sit here,
Singing fol de rol, la re da!
The very best game I ever did see,
Is a buck or a deer, but a deer for me!
In Thornehagh-Moor woods this night we'll be!
Fol de rol, la re da!


[This very old ditty has been transformed into the dialects of
Somersetshire, Northamptonshire, and Leicestershire; but it
properly belongs to Lincolnshire. Nor is this the only liberty
that his been taken with it. The original tune is that of a
Lancashire air, well known as The Manchester Angel; but a florid
modern tune has been substituted. The Lincolnshire Poacher was a
favourite ditty with George IV., and it is said that he often had
it sung for his amusement by a band of Berkshire ploughmen. He
also commanded it to be sung at his harvest-homes, but we believe
it was always on such occasions sung to the 'playhouse tune,' and
not to the genuine music. It is often very difficult to trace the
locality of countrymen's songs, in consequence of the licence
adopted by printers of changing the names of places to suit their
own neighbourhoods; but there is no such difficulty about The
Lincolnshire Poacher. The oldest copy we have seen, printed at
York about 1776, reads 'Lincolnshire,' and it is only in very
modern copies that the venue is removed to other counties. In the
Somersetshire version the local vernacular is skilfully substituted
for that of the original; but the deception may, nevertheless, be
very easily detected.]

When I was bound apprentice, in famous Lincolnsheer,
Full well I served my master for more than seven year,
Till I took up with poaching, as you shall quickly hear:-
Oh! 'tis my delight of a shiny night, in the season of the year.

As me and my comrades were setting of a snare,
'Twas then we seed the gamekeeper--for him we did not care,
For we can wrestle and fight, my boys, and jump o'er everywhere:-
Oh! 'tis my delight of a shiny night, in the season of the year.

As me and my comrades were setting four or five,
And taking on him up again, we caught the hare alive;
We caught the hare alive, my boys, and through the woods did
Oh! 'tis my delight of a shiny night, in the season of the year.

Bad luck to every magistrate that lives in Lincolnsheer; {59}
Success to every poacher that wants to sell a hare;
Bad luck to every gamekeeper that will not sell his deer:-
Oh! 'tis my delight of a shiny night, in the season of the year.


[This following song, which is very popular with the peasantry of
Somersetshire, is given as a curious specimen of the dialect still
spoken in some parts of that county. Though the song is a genuine
peasant's ditty, it is heard in other circles, and frequently
roared out at hunting dinners. It is here reprinted from a copy
communicated by Mr. Sandys.]

There's no pleasures can compare
Wi' the hunting o' the hare,
In the morning, in the morning,
In fine and pleasant weather.

Cho. With our hosses and our hounds,
We will scamps it o'er the grounds,
And sing traro, huzza!
And sing traro, huzza!
And sing traro, brave boys, we will foller.

And when poor puss arise,
Then away from us she flies;
And we'll gives her, boys, we'll gives her,
One thundering and loud holler!
Cho. With our hosses, &c.

And when poor puss is killed,
We'll retires from the field;
And we'll count boys, and we'll count
On the same good ren to-morrer.
Cho. With our bosses and our hounds, &c.


[The common copies of this old highwayman's song are very corrupt.
We are indebted for the following version, which contains several
emendations, to Mr. W. H. Ainsworth. The song, which may probably
be referred to the age of Charles II., is a spirited specimen of
its class.]

I can sport as fine a trotting horse as any swell in town,
To trot you fourteen miles an hour, I'll bet you fifty crown;
He is such a one to bend his knees, and tuck his haunches in,
And throw the dust in people's face, and think it not a sin.
For to ride away, trot away,
Ri, fa lar, la, &c.

He has an eye like any hawk, a neck like any swan,
A foot light as the stag's, the while his back is scarce a span;
Kind Nature hath so formed him, he is everything that's good, -
Aye! everything a man could wish, in bottom, bone, and blood.
For to ride away, &c.

If you drop therein, he'll nod his head, and boldly walk away,
While others kick and bounce about, to him it's only play;
There never was a finer horse e'er went on English ground,
He is rising six years old, and is all over right and sound.
For to ride away, &c.

If any frisk or milling match should call me out of town,
I can pass the blades with white cockades, their whiskers hanging
With large jack-towels round their necks, they think they're first
and fast,
But, with their gapers open wide, they find that they are last.
Whilst I ride away, &c.

If threescore miles I am from home, I darkness never mind,
My friend is gone, and I am left, with pipe and pot behind;
Up comes some saucy kiddy, a scampsman on the hot,
But ere he pulls the trigger I am off just like a shot.
For I ride away, &c.

If Fortune e'er should fickle be, and wish to have again
That which she so freely gave, I'd give it without pain;
I would part with it most freely, and without the least remorse,
Only grant to me what God hath gave, my mistress and my horse!
That I may ride away, &c.


[This very curious old song is not only a favourite with our
peasantry, but, in consequence of having been introduced into the
modern dramatic entertainment of The Loan of a Lover, has obtained
popularity in higher circles. Its sweetly plaintive tune will be
found in Popular Music. The words are quaint, but by no means
wanting in beauty; they are, no doubt, corrupted, as we have
derived them from common broadsides, the only form in which we have
been able to meet with them. The author of the song was Mrs.
Fleetwood Habergham, of Habergham, in the county of Lancaster.
'Ruined by the extravagance, and disgraced by the vices of her
husband, she soothed her sorrows,' says Dr. Whitaker, 'by some
stanzas yet remembered among the old people of her neighbourhood.'-
-History of Whalley. Mrs. Habergham died in 1703, and was buried
at Padiham.]

I sowed the seeds of love, it was all in the spring,
In April, May, and June, likewise, when small birds they do sing;
My garden's well planted with flowers everywhere,
Yet I had not the liberty to choose for myself the flower that I
loved so dear.

My gardener he stood by, I asked him to choose for me,
He chose me the violet, the lily and pink, but those I refused all
The violet I forsook, because it fades so soon,
The lily and the pink I did o'erlook, and I vowed I'd stay till

In June there's a red rose-bud, and that's the flower for me!
But often have I plucked at the red rose-bud till I gained the
The willow-tree will twist, and the willow-tree will twice, -
O! I wish I was in the dear youth's arms that once had the heart of

My gardener he stood by, he told me to take great care,
For in the middle of a red rose-bud there grows a sharp thorn
I told him I'd take no care till I did feel the smart,
And often I plucked at the red rose-bud till I pierced it to the

I'll make me a posy of hyssop,--no other I can touch, -
That all the world may plainly see I love one flower too much;
My garden is run wild! where shall I plant anew -
For my bed, that once was covered with thyme, is all overrun with
rue? {60}


[One of our most pleasing rural ditties. The air is very
beautiful. We first heard it sung in Malhamdale, Yorkshire, by
Willy Bolton, an old Dales'-minstrel, who accompanied himself on
the union-pipes. {61}]

The day was spent, the moon shone bright,
The village clock struck eight;
Young Mary hastened, with delight,
Unto the garden-gate:
But what was there that made her sad? -
The gate was there, but not the lad,
Which made poor Mary say and sigh,
'Was ever poor girl so sad as I?'

She traced the garden here and there,
The village clock struck nine;
Which made poor Mary sigh, and say,
'You shan't, you shan't be mine!
You promised to meet at the gate at eight,
You ne'er shall keep me, nor make me wait,
For I'll let all such creatures see,
They ne'er shall make a fool of me!'

She traced the garden here and there,
The village clock struck ten;
Young William caught her in his arms,
No more to part again:
For he'd been to buy the ring that day,
And O! he had been a long, long way; -
Then, how could Mary cruel prove,
To banish the lad she so dearly did love?

Up with the morning sun they rose,
To church they went away,
And all the village joyful were,
Upon their wedding-day:
Now in a cot, by a river side,
William and Mary both reside;
And she blesses the night that she did wait
For her absent swain, at the garden-gate.


[This song is a village-version of an incident which occurred in
the Cecil family. The same English adventure has, strangely
enough, been made the subject of one of the most romantic of
Moore's Irish Melodies, viz., You remember Helen, the hamlet's

As I walked forth one summer's morn,
Hard by a river's side,
Where yellow cowslips did adorn
The blushing field with pride;
I spied a damsel on the grass,
More blooming than the may;
Her looks the Queen of Love surpassed,
Among the new-mown hay.

I said, 'Good morning, pretty maid,
How came you here so soon?'
'To keep my father's sheep,' she said,
'The thing that must be done:
While they are feeding 'mong the dew,
To pass the time away,
I sit me down to knit or sew,
Among the new-mown hay.'

Delighted with her simple tale,
I sat down by her side;
With vows of love I did prevail
On her to be my bride:
In strains of simple melody,
She sung a rural lay;
The little lambs stood listening by,
Among the new-mown hay.

Then to the church they went with speed,
And Hymen joined them there;
No more her ewes and lambs to feed,
For she's a lady fair:
A lord he was that married her,
To town they came straightway:
She may bless the day he spied her there,
Among the new-mown hay.


[This excellent old country song, which can be traced to 1687, is
sung to the air of Packington's Pound, for the history of which see
Popular Music.]

In praise of a dairy I purpose to sing,
But all things in order, first, God save the King! {62}
And the Queen, I may say,
That every May-day,
Has many fair dairy-maids all fine and gay.
Assist me, fair damsels, to finish my theme,
Inspiring my fancy with strawberry cream.

The first of fair dairy-maids, if you'll believe,
Was Adam's own wife, our great grandmother Eve,
Who oft milked a cow,
As well she knew how.
Though butter was not then as cheap as 'tis now,
She hoarded no butter nor cheese on her shelves,
For butter and cheese in those days made themselves.

In that age or time there was no horrid money,
Yet the children of Israel had both milk and honey;
No Queen you could see,
Of the highest degree,
But would milk the brown cow with the meanest she.
Their lambs gave them clothing, their cows gave them meat,
And in plenty and peace all their joys wore complete.

Amongst the rare virtues that milk does produce,
For a thousand of dainties it's daily in use:
Now a pudding I'll tell 'ee,
And so can maid Nelly,
Must have from good milk both the cream and the jelly:
For a dainty fine pudding, without cream or milk,
Is a citizen's wife, without satin or silk.

In the virtues of milk there is more to be mustered:
O! the charming delights both of cheesecake and custard!
If to wakes {63} you resort,
You can have no sport,
Unless you give custards and cheesecake too for't:
And what's the jack-pudding that makes us to laugh,
Unless he hath got a great custard to quaff?

Both pancake and fritter of milk have good store,
But a Devonshire white-pot must needs have much more;
Of no brew {64} you can think,
Though you study and wink,
From the lusty sack posset to poor posset drink,
But milk's the ingredient, though wine's {65} ne'er the worse,
For 'tis wine makes the man, though 'tis milk makes the nurse.


[Of this popular country song there are a variety of versions. The
following, which is the most ancient, is transcribed from a black-
letter broadside in the Roxburgh Collection, entitled The Milke-
maid's Life; or, a pretty new ditty composed and penned, the praise
of the Milking-pail to defend. To a curious new tune called the
Milke-maid's Dump. It is subscribed with the initials M. P.;
probably those of Martin Parker.]

You rural goddesses,
That woods and fields possess,
Assist me with your skill, that may direct my quill,
More jocundly to express,
The mirth and delight, both morning and night,
On mountain or in dale,
Of them who choose this trade to use,
And, through cold dews, do never refuse
To carry the milking-pail.

The bravest lasses gay,
Live not so merry as they;
In honest civil sort they make each other sport,
As they trudge on their way;
Come fair or foul weather, they're fearful of neither,
Their courages never quail.
In wet and dry, though winds be high,
And dark's the sky, they ne'er deny
To carry the milking-pail.

Their hearts are free from care,
They never will despair;
Whatever them befal, they bravely bear out all,
And fortune's frowns outdare.
They pleasantly sing to welcome the spring,
'Gainst heaven they never rail;
If grass well grow, their thanks they show,
And, frost or snow, they merrily go
Along with the milking-pail:

Base idleness they do scorn,
They rise very early i' th' morn,
And walk into the field, where pretty birds do yield
Brave music on every thorn.
The linnet and thrush do sing on each bush,
And the dulcet nightingale
Her note doth strain, by jocund vein,
To entertain that worthy train,
Which carry the milking-pail.

Their labour doth health preserve,
No doctor's rules they observe,
While others too nice in taking their advice,
Look always as though they would starve.
Their meat is digested, they ne'er are molested,
No sickness doth them assail;
Their time is spent in merriment,
While limbs are lent, they are content,
To carry the milking-pail.

Upon the first of May,
With garlands, fresh and gay,
With mirth and music sweet, for such a season meet,
They pass the time away.
They dance away sorrow, and all the day thorough
Their legs do never fail,
For they nimbly their feet do ply,
And bravely try the victory,
In honour o' the milking-pail.

If any think that I
Do practise flattery,
In seeking thus to raise the merry milkmaids' praise,
I'll to them thus reply:-
It is their desert inviteth my art,
To study this pleasant tale;
In their defence, whose innocence,
And providence, gets honest pence
Out of the milking-pail.


[The following is another version of the preceding ditty, and is
the one most commonly sung.]

Ye nymphs and sylvan gods,
That love green fields and woods,
When spring newly-born herself does adorn,
With flowers and blooming buds:
Come sing in the praise, while flocks do graze,
On yonder pleasant vale,
Of those that choose to milk their ewes,
And in cold dews, with clouted shoes,
To carry the milking-pail.

You goddess of the morn,
With blushes you adorn,
And take the fresh air, whilst linnets prepare
A concert on each green thorn;
The blackbird and thrush on every bush,
And the charming nightingale,
In merry vein, their throats do strain
To entertain, the jolly train
Of those of the milking-pail.

When cold bleak winds do roar,
And flowers will spring no more,
The fields that were seen so pleasant and green,
With winter all candied o'er,
See now the town lass, with her white face,
And her lips so deadly pale;
But it is not so, with those that go
Through frost and snow, with cheeks that glow,
And carry the milking-pail.

The country lad is free
From fears and jealousy,
Whilst upon the green he oft is seen,
With his lass upon his knee.
With kisses most sweet he doth her so treat,
And swears her charms won't fail;
But the London lass, in every place,
With brazen face, despises the grace
Of those of the milking-pail.


[This is a very old ditty, and a favourite with the peasantry in
every part of England; but more particularly in the mining
districts of the North. The tune is pleasing, but uncommon. R. W.
Dixon, Esq., of Seaton-Carew, Durham, by whom the song was
communicated to his brother for publication, says, 'I have written
down the above, verbatim, as generally sung. It will be seen that
the last lines of each verse are not of equal length. The singer,
however, makes all right and smooth! The words underlined in each
verse are sung five times, thus:- They ad-van-ced, they ad-van-ced,
they ad-van-ced, they ad-van-ced, they ad-van-ced me some money,--
ten guineas and a crown. The last line is thus sung:- We'll be
married, (as the word is usually pronounced), We'll be married,
we'll be married, we'll be married, we'll be married, we'll be mar-
ri-ed when I return again.' The tune is given in Popular Music.
Since this song appeared in the volume issued by the Percy Society,
we have met with a copy printed at Devonport. The readings are in
general not so good; but in one or two instances they are
apparently more ancient, and are, consequently, here adopted. The
Devonport copy contains two verses, not preserved in our
traditional version. These we have incorporated in our present
text, in which they form the third and last stanzas.]

It was one summer's morning, as I went o'er the moss,
I had no thought of 'listing, till the soldiers did me cross;
They kindly did invite me to a flowing bowl, and down,
THEY ADVANCED me some money,--ten guineas and a crown.

'It's true my love has listed, he wears a white cockade,
He is a handsome tall young man, besides a roving blade;
He is a handsome young man, and he's gone to serve the king,
OH! MY VERY heart is breaking for the loss of him.

'My love is tall and handsome, and comely for to see,
And by a sad misfortune a soldier now is he;
I hope the man that listed him may not prosper night nor day,
FOR I WISH THAT the Hollanders may sink him in the sea.

'Oh! may he never prosper, oh! may he never thrive,
Nor anything he takes in hand so long as he's alive;
May the very grass he treads upon the ground refuse to grow,
SINCE HE'S BEEN the only cause of my sorrow, grief, and woe!'

Then he pulled out a handkerchief to wipe her flowing eyes, -
'Leave off those lamentations, likewise those mournful cries;
Leave of your grief and sorrow, while I march o'er the plain,
WE'LL BE MARRIED when I return again.'

'O now my love has listed, and I for him will rove,
I'll write his name on every tree that grows in yonder grove,
Where the huntsman he does hollow, and the hounds do sweetly cry,
TO REMIND ME of my ploughboy until the day I die.'

Ballad: OLD ADAM.

[We have had considerable trouble in procuring a copy of this old
song, which used, in former days, to be very popular with aged
people resident in the North of England. It has been long out of
print, and handed down traditionally. By the kindness, however, of
Mr. S. Swindells, printer, Manchester, we have been favoured with
an ancient printed copy, which Mr. Swindells observes he had great
difficulty in obtaining. Some improvements have been made in the
present edition from the recital of Mr. Effingham Wilson, who was
familiar with the song in his youth.]

Both sexes give ear to my fancy,
While in praise of dear woman I sing;
Confined not to Moll, Sue, or Nancy,
But mates from a beggar to king.

When old Adam first was created,
And lord of the universe crowned,
His happiness was not completed,
Until that an helpmate was found.

He'd all things in food that were wanting
To keep and support him through life;
He'd horses and foxes for hunting,
Which some men love better than wife.

He'd a garden so planted by nature,
Man cannot produce in his life;
But yet the all-wise great Creator
Still saw that he wanted a wife.

Then Adam he laid in a slumber,
And there he lost part of his side;
And when he awoke, with a wonder,
Beheld his most beautiful bride!

In transport he gazed upon her,
His happiness now was complete!
He praised his bountiful donor,
Who thus had bestowed him a mate.

She was not took out of his head, sir,
To reign and triumph over man;
Nor was she took out of his feet, sir,
By man to be trampled upon.

But she was took out of his side, sir,
His equal and partner to be;
But as they're united in one, sir,
The man is the top of the tree.

Then let not the fair be despised
By man, as she's part of himself;
For woman by Adam was prized
More than the whole globe full of wealth.

Man without a woman's a beggar,
Suppose the whole world he possessed;
And the beggar that's got a good woman,
With more than the world he is blest.

Ballad: TOBACCO.

[This song is a mere adaptation of Smoking Spiritualized; see ante,
p. 39. The earliest copy of the abridgment we have been able to
meet with, is published in D'Urfey's Pills to purge Melancholy,
1719; but whether we are indebted for it to the author of the
original poem, or to 'that bright genius, Tom D'Urfey,' as Burns
calls him, we are not able to determine. The song has always been
popular. The tune is in Popular Music.]

Tobacco's but an Indian weed,
Grows green in the morn, cut down at eve;
It shows our decay,
We are but clay;
Think of this when you smoke tobacco!

The pipe that is so lily white,
Wherein so many take delight,
It's broken with a touch, -
Man's life is such;
Think of this when you take tobacco!

The pipe that is so foul within,
It shows man's soul is stained with sin;
It doth require
To be purred with fire;
Think of this when you smoke tobacco!

The dust that from the pipe doth fall,
It shows we are nothing but dust at all;
For we came from the dust,
And return we must;
Think of this when you smoke tobacco!

The ashes that are left behind,
Do serve to put us all in mind
That unto dust
Return we must;
Think of this when you take tobacco!

The smoke that does so high ascend,
Shows that man's life must have an end;
The vapour's gone, -
Man's life is done;
Think of this when you take tobacco!


[This song is ancient, but we have no means of ascertaining at what
period it was written. Captain Marryat, in his novel of Poor Jack,
introduces it, and says it is OLD. It is a general favourite. The
air is plaintive, and in the minor key. See Popular Music.]

Farewell, and adieu to you Spanish ladies,
Farewell, and adieu to you ladies of Spain!
For we've received orders for to sail for old England,
But we hope in a short time to see you again.

We'll rant and we'll roar {66} like true British heroes,
We'll rant and we'll roar across the salt seas,
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty-five leagues.

Then we hove our ship to, with the wind at sou'-west, boys,
We hove our ship to, for to strike soundings clear;
We got soundings in ninety-five fathom, and boldly
Up the channel of old England our course we did steer.

The first land we made it was called the Deadman,
Next, Ram'shead off Plymouth, Start, Portland, and Wight;
We passed by Beachy, by Fairleigh, and Dungeness,
And hove our ship to, off the South Foreland light.

Then a signal was made for the grand fleet to anchor
All in the Downs, that night for to sleep;
Then stand by your stoppers, let go your shank-painters,
Haul all your clew-garnets, stick out tacks and sheets.

So let every man toss off a full bumper,
Let every man toss off his full bowls;
We'll drink and be jolly, and drown melancholy,
So here's a good health to all true-hearted souls!


[The following song was taken down some years ago from the
recitation of a country curate, who said he had learned it from a
very old inhabitant of Methley, near Pontefract, Yorkshire. We
have never seen it in print.]

When Harry the tailor was twenty years old,
He began for to look with courage so bold;
He told his old mother he was not in jest,
But he would have a wife as well as the rest.

Then Harry next morning, before it was day,
To the house of his fair maid took his way.
He found his dear Dolly a making of cheese,
Says he, 'You must give me a buss, if you please!'

She up with the bowl, the butter-milk flew,
And Harry the tailor looked wonderful blue.
'O, Dolly, my dear, what hast thou done?
From my back to my breeks has thy butter-milk run.'

She gave him a push, he stumbled and fell
Down from the dairy into the drawwell.
Then Harry, the ploughboy, ran amain,
And soon brought him up in the bucket again.

Then Harry went home like a drowned rat,
And told his old mother what he had been at.
With butter-milk, bowl, and a terrible fall,
O, if this be called love, may the devil take all!


[For this old Northumbrian song we are indebted to Mr. Robert
Chambers. It was taken down from the recitation of a lady. The
'Sir Arthur' is no less a personage than Sir Arthur Haslerigg, the
Governor of Tynemouth Castle during the Protectorate of Cromwell.]

As noble Sir Arthur one morning did ride,
With his hounds at his feet, and his sword by his side,
He saw a fair maid sitting under a tree,
He asked her name, and she said 'twas Mollee.

'Oh, charming Mollee, you my butler shall be,
To draw the red wine for yourself and for me!
I'll make you a lady so high in degree,
If you will but love me, my charming Mollee!

'I'll give you fine ribbons, I'll give you fine rings,
I'll give you fine jewels, and many fine things;
I'll give you a petticoat flounced to the knee,
If you will but love me, my charming Mollee!'

'I'll have none of your ribbons, and none of your rings,
None of your jewels, and other fine things;
And I've got a petticoat suits my degree,
And I'll ne'er love a married man till his wife dee.'

'Oh, charming Mollee, lend me then your penknife,
And I will go home, and I'll kill my own wife;
I'll kill my own wife, and my bairnies three,
If you will but love me, my charming Mollee!'

'Oh, noble Sir Arthur, it must not be so,
Go home to your wife, and let nobody know;
For seven long years I will wait upon thee,
But I'll ne'er love a married man till his wife dee.'

Now seven long years are gone and are past,
The old woman went to her long home at last;
The old woman died, and Sir Arthur was free,
And he soon came a-courting to charming Mollee.

Now charming Mollee in her carriage doth ride,
With her hounds at her feet, and her lord by her side:
Now all ye fair maids take a warning by me,
And ne'er love a married man till his wife dee.


[This is a version of the Baillie of Berwick, which will be found
in the Local Historian's Table-Book. It was originally obtained
from Morpeth, and communicated by W. H. Longstaffe, Esq., of
Darlington, who says, 'in many respects the Baillie of Berwick is
the better edition--still mine may furnish an extra stanza or two,
and the ha! ha! ha! is better than heigho, though the notes suit
either version.']

There was an old man came over the Lea,
Ha-ha-ha-ha! but I won't have him. {67}
He came over the Lea,
A-courting to me,
With his grey beard newly-shaven.

My mother she bid me open the door:
I opened the door,
And he fell on the floor.

My mother she bid me set him a stool:
I set him a stool,
And he looked like a fool.

My mother she bid me give him some beer:
I gave him some beer,
And he thought it good cheer.

My mother she bid me cut him some bread:
I cut him some bread,
And I threw't at his head.

My mother she bid me light him to bed.
I lit him to bed,
And wished he were dead.

My mother she bid me tell him to rise:
I told him to rise,
And he opened his eyes.

My mother she bid me take him to church:
I took him to church,
And left him in the lurch;
With his grey beard newly-shaven.


[A version of this very favourite song may be found in Ramsay's
Tea-Table Miscellany. Though a sailor's song, we question whether
it is not a greater favourite with landsmen. The chorus is become
proverbial, and its philosophy has often been invoked to mitigate
the evils and misfortunes of life.]

How pleasant a sailor's life passes,
Who roams o'er the watery main!
No treasure he ever amasses,
But cheerfully spends all his gain.
We're strangers to party and faction,
To honour and honesty true;
And would not commit a bad action
For power or profit in view.
Then why should we quarrel for riches,
Or any such glittering toys;
A light heart, and a thin pair of breeches,
Will go through the world, my brave boys!

The world is a beautiful garden,
Enriched with the blessings of life,
The toiler with plenty rewarding,
Which plenty too often breeds strife.
When terrible tempests assail us,
And mountainous billows affright,
No grandeur or wealth can avail us,
But skilful industry steers right.
Then why, &c.

The courtier's more subject to dangers,
Who rules at the helm of the state,
Than we that, to politics strangers,
Escape the snares laid for the great.
The various blessings of nature,
In various nations we try;
No mortals than us can be greater,
Who merrily live till we die.
Then why should, &c.


[The popularity of this old lyric, of which ours is the ballad-
printer's version, has been increased by the lively and appropriate
music recently adapted to it by Mr. Holderness. The date of this
song is about the era of Charles II.]

Now, since we're met, let's merry, merry be,
In spite of all our foes;
And he that will not merry be,
We'll pull him by the nose.
Cho. Let him be merry, merry there,
While we're all merry, merry here,
For who can know where he shall go,
To be merry another year.


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