Songs from Thomas D’Urfey, Pills to Purge Melancholy

The texts of these ten songs (for use in English 3) are taken from Thomas D’Urfey’s Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy, from the 1876 six-in-three-volume reprint of the edition of 1719–20. The volume and page number appear after each title (the titles are in fact first lines; I don’t reproduce D’Urfey’s original titles). All ten songs are included on the recording of Pills to Purge Melancholy by The City Waits, available from the Musical Heritage Society. Please send corrections and suggestions to Jack Lynch.

  1. “Sometimes I Am a Tapster New" (VI, 91)
  2. “Blowzabella My Bouncing Doxie" (I, 194)
  3. “As Oyster Nan Stood by Her Tub" (V, 107)
  4. “There Was a Lass of Islington" (V, 46)
  5. “Would Ye Have a Young Virgin of Fifteen Years" (I, 132)
  6. “When for Air I Take My Mare" (II, 190)
  7. “Young Collin, Cleaving of a Beam" (I, 290)
  8. “There Was an Old Woman Liv’d Under a Hill" (V, 13)
  9. “Now Listen a While and I Will Tell" (III, 147)
  10. “Come Jug, My Honey, Let’s to Bed" (I, 292)

Sometimes I am a Tapster new

Sometimes I am a Tapster new,
And skilful in my Trade Sir,
I fill my Pots most duly,
Without deceit or froth Sir:
A Spicket of two Handfuls long,
I use to Occupy Sir:
And when I set a Butt abroach,
Then shall no Beer run by Sir.

Sometimes I am a Butcher,
And then I feel fat Ware Sir;
And if the flank be fleshed well,
I take no farther care Sir:
But in I thrust my Slaughtering-Knife,
Up to the Haft with speed Sir;
For all that ever I can do,
I cannot make it bleed Sir.

Sometimes I am a Baker,
And Bake both white and brown Sir;
I have as fine a Wrigling-Pole,
As any is in all this Town Sir;
But if my Oven be over-hot,
I dare not thrust in it Sir;
For burning of my Wrigling-Pole,
My Skill’s not worth a Pin Sir.

Sometimes I am a Glover,
And can do passing well Sir;
In dressing of a Doe-skin,
I know I do excel Sir:
But if by chance a Flaw I find,
In dressing of the Leather;
I straightway whip my Needle out,
And I tack ’em close together.

Sometimes I am a Cook,
And in Fleet-Street I do dwell Sir
At the sign of the Sugarloaf,
As it is known full well Sir:
And if a dainty Lass comes by
And wants a dainty bit Sir;
I take four Quarters in my Arms,
And put them on my Spit Sir.

In Weavering and in Fulling,
I have such passing Skill Sir;
And underneath my Weavering-Beam,
There stands a Fulling-Mill Sir:
To have good Wives displeasure
I would be very loath Sir;
The Water runs so near my Hand,
It over-thicks my Cloath Sir.

Sometimes I am a Shoe-maker,
And work with silly Bones Sir:
To make my Leather soft and moist,
I use a pair of Stones Sir:
My Lasts for and my lasting Sticks
Are fit for every size Sir
I know the length of Lasses Feet
By handling of their Thighs Sir.

The Tanner’s Trade I practice,
Sometimes amongst the rest Sir;
Yet I could never get a Hair,
Of any Hide I dress’d Sir;
For I have been tanning of a Hide,
This long seven Years and more Sir;
And yet it is as hairy still,
As ever it was before Sir.

Sometimes I am a Taylor,
And work with Thread that’s strong Sir
I have a fine great Needle,
About two handfulls long Sir.
The finest Sempster in this Town,
That works by line or leisure;
May use my Needle at a pinch.
And do themselves great Pleasure.

Blowzabella my bouncing Doxie

He. Blowzabella my bouncing Doxie,
Come let’s trudge it to Kirkham Fair,
There’s stout Liquor enough to Fox me,
And young Cullies to buy thy Ware.

She. Mind your Matters ye Sot without medling
How I manage the sale of my Toys,
Get by Piping as I do by Pedling,
You need never want me for supplies.

He. God-a-mercy my Sweeting, I find thou think’st fitting,
To hint by this twitting, I owe thee a Crown;

She. Tho’ for that I’ve been staying, a greater Debt’s paying,
Your rate of delaying will never Compound.

He. I’ll come home when my Pouch is full,
And soundly pay thee all old Arrears;

She. You’ll forget it your Pate’s so dull,
As by drowzy Neglect appears.

He. May the Drone of my Bag never hum,
If I fail to remember my Blowse;

She. May my Buttocks be ev’ry ones Drum,
If I think thou wilt pay me a Souse.

He. Squeakham, Squeakham, Bag-pipe will make ’em,
Whisking, Frisking, Money brings in,

She. Smoaking, Toping, Landlady groping,
Whores and Scores will spend it again.

He. By the best as I guess in the Town,
I swear thou shalt have e’ery Groat;

She. By the worst that a Woman e’er found,
If I have it will signify nought;

He. If good Nature works no better,
Blowzabella I’d have you to know,
Though you fancy my Stock is so low,
I’ve more Rhino than always I show,
For some good Reasons of State that I know.

She. Since your Cheating I always knew,
For my Ware I got something too,
I’ve more Sence than to tell to you.

He. Singly then let’s imploy Wit,
I’ll use Pipe as my gain does hit,

She. And If I a new Chapman get,
You’ll be easy too,

Easy as any worn out Shoo.

[CHORUS of both.]

Free and Frolick we’ll Couple Gratis
Thus we’ll show all the Human Race;
That the best of the Marriage State is,
Blowzabella’s and Collin’s Case.

As Oyster Nan stood by her Tub

As Oyster Nan stood by her Tub,
To shew her vicious Inclination;
She gave her noblest Parts a Scrub,
And sigh’d for want of Copulation:
A Vintner of no little Fame,
Who excellent Red and White can sell ye,
Beheld the little dirty Dame,
As she stood scratching of her Belly.

Come in, says he, you silly Slut,
’Tis now a rare convenient Minute;
I’ll lay the Itching of your Scut,
Except some greedy Devil be in it:
With that the Flat-capt Fusby smil’d,
And would have blush’d, but that she cou’d not;
Alass! says she, we’re soon beguil’d,
By Men to do those things we shou’d not.

From Door they went behind the Bar,
As it’s by common Fame reported;
And there upon a Turkey Chair,
Unseen the loving Couple sported;
But being call’d by Company,
As he was taking pains to please her;
I’m coming, coming Sir, says he,
My Dear, and so am I, says she, Sir.

Her Mole-hill Belly swell’d about,
Into a Mountain quickly after;
And when the pretty Mouse crept out,
The Creature caus’d a mighty Laughter:
And now she has learnt the pleasing Game,
Altho’ much Pain and Shame it cost her;
She daily ventures at the same,
And shuts and opens like an Oyster.

There was a Lass of Islington

There was a Lass of Islington,
As I have heard many tell;
And she would to Fair London go,
Fine Apples and Pears to sell:
And as along the Streets she flung,
With her basket on her Arm:
Her Pears to sell, you may know it right well,
This fair Maid meant no harm.

But as she tript along the Street,
Her pleasant Fruit to sell;
A Vintner did with her meet,
Who lik’d this Maid full well:
Quoth he, fair Maid, what have you there?
In Basket decked brave;
Fine Pears, quoth she, and if it please ye
A taste Sir you shall have.

The Vintner he took a Taste,
And lik’d it well, for why;
This Maid he thought of all the rest,
Most pleasing to his Eye:
Quoth he, fair Maid I have a Suit,
That you to me must grant;
Which if I find you be so kind,
Nothing that you shall want.

Thy Beauty doth so please my Eye,
And dazles so my sight;
That now of all my Liberty,
I am deprived quite:
Then prithee now consent to me,
And do not put me by;
It is but one small courtesie,
All Night with you to lie.

Sir, if you lie with me one Night,
As you propound to me;
I do expect that you should prove,
Both courteous, kind and free:
And for to tell you all in short,
It will cost you Five Pound,
A Match, a Match, the Vintner said,
And so let this go round.

When he had lain with her all Night,
Her Money she did crave,
O stay, quoth he, the other Night,
And thy Money thou shalt have:
I cannot stay, nor I will not stay,
I needs must now be gone,
Why then thou may’st thy Money go look,
For Money I’ll pay thee none.

This Maid she made no more ado,
But to a Justice went;
And unto him she made her moan,
Who did her Case lament:
She said she had a Cellar Let out,
To a Vintner in the Town;
And how that he did then agree
Five Pound to pay her down.

But now, quoth she, the Case is thus,
No Rent that he will pay;
Therefore your Worship I beseech,
To send for him this Day:
Then strait the Justice for him sent,
And asked the Reason why;
That he would pay this Maid no Rent?
To which he did Reply,

Although I hired a Cellar of her,
And the Possession was mine?
I ne’er put any thing into it,
But one poor Pipe of Wine:
Therefore my Bargain it was hard,
As you may plainly see;
I from my Freedom was Debarr’d,
Then good Sir favour me.

This Fair Maid being ripe of Wit,
She strait Reply’d again;
There were two Butts more at the Door,
Why did you not roul them in?
You had your Freedom and your Will,
As is to you well known;
Therefore I do desire still,
For to receive my own.

The Justice hearing of their Case,
Did then give Order strait;
That he the Money should pay down,
She should no longer wait:
Withal he told the Vintner plain
If he a Tennant be;
He must expect to pay the same,
For he could not sit Rent-free.

But when the Money she had got,
She put it in her Purse:
And clapt her Hand on the Cellar Door,
And said it was never the worse:
Which caused the People all to laugh,
To see this Vintner Fine:
Out-witted by a Country Girl,
About his Pipe of Wine.

Would ye have a young Virgin of fifteen Years

Would ye have a young Virgin of fifteen Years,
You must tickle her Fancy with sweets and dears,
Ever toying, and playing, and sweetly, sweetly,
Sing a Love Sonnet, and charm her Ears:
Wittily, prettily talk her down,
Chase her, and praise her, if fair or brown,
Sooth her, and smooth her,
And teaze her, and please her,
And touch but her Smicket, and all’s your own.

Do ye fancy a Widow well known in a Man?
With a front of Assurance come boldly on,
Let her rest not an Hour, but briskly, briskly,
Put her in mind how her Time steals on;
Rattle and prattle although she frown,
Rowse her, and towse her from Morn to Noon,
Shew her some Hour y’are able to grapple,
Then get but her Writings, and all’s your own.

Do ye fancy a Punk of a Humour free,
That’s kept by a Fumbler of Quality,
You must rail at her Keeper, and tell her, tell her
Pleasure’s best Charm is Variety,
Swear her much fairer than all the Town,
Try her, and ply her when Cully’s gone,
Dog her, and jog her,
And meet her, and treat her,
And kiss with two Guinea’s, and all’s your own.

When for Air I take my Mare

When for Air
I take my Mare,
And mount her first,
She walks just thus,
Her Head held low,
And Motion slow;
With Nodding, Plodding,
Wagging, Jogging,
Dashing, Plashing,
Snorting, Starting,
Whimsically she goes:
Then Whip stirs up,
Trot, Trot, Trot;
Ambling then with easy slight,
She riggles like a Bride at Night;
Her shuffling hitch,
Regales my Britch;
Whilst Trott, Trott, Trott, Trott,
Brings on the Gallop,
The Gallop, the Gallop,
The Gallop, and then a short
Trott, Trott, Trott, Trott,
Straight again up and down,
Up and down, up and down,
Till she comes home with a Trott,
When Night dark grows.

Just so Phillis,
Fair as Lillies,
As her Face is,
Has her Paces;
And in Bed too,
Like my Pad too;
Nodding, Plodding,
Wagging, Jogging,
Dashing, Plashing,
Flirting, Spirting,
Artful are all her ways:
Heart thumps pitt, patt,
Trott, Trott, Trott, Trott:
Ambling, then her Tongue gets loose,
Whilst wrigling near I press more close:
Ye Devil she crys,
I’ll tear your Eyes,
When Main seiz’d,
Bum squeez’d,
I Gallop, I Gallop, I Gallop, I Gallop,
And Trott, Trott, Trott, Trott,
Streight again up and down,
Up and down, up and down,
Till the last Jerk with a Trot,
Ends our Love Chase.

Young Collin, cleaving of a Beam

Young Collin, cleaving of a Beam,
At ev’ry Thumping, thumping blow cry’d hem;
And told his Wife, and told his Wife,
And told his Wife who the Cause would know,
That Hem made the Wedge much further go:
Plump Joan, when at Night to Bed they came,
And both were Playing at that same;
Cry’d Hem, hem, hem prithee, prithee, prithee Collin do,
If ever thou lov’dst me, Dear hem now;
He laughing answer’d no, no, no,
Some Work will Split, will split with half a blow;
Besides now I Bore, now I bore, now I bore,
Now, now, now I bore,
I Hem when I Cleave, but now I Bore.

There was an old Woman liv’d under a Hill

There was an old Woman liv’d under a Hill,
Sing Trolly lolly, lolly, lolly, lo;
She had good Beer and Ale for to sell,
Ho, ho, had she so, had she so, had she so;
She had a Daughter her name was Siss,
Sing Trolly lolly, lolly, lolly, lo;
She kept her at Home for to welcome her Guest,
Ho, ho, did she so, did she so, did she so.

There came a Trooper riding by,
Sing trolly, &c.
He call’d for Drink most plentifully,
Ho, ho, did he so, &c.
When one Pot was out he call’d for another,
Sing trolly, &c.
He kiss’d the Daughter before the Mother,
Ho, ho, did he so, &c.

And when Night came on to Bed they went,
Sing trolly, &c.
It was with the Mother’s own Consent,
Ho, ho, was it so, &c.
Quoth she what is this so stiff and warm,
Sing trolly &c.
’Tis Ball my Nag he will do you no harm,
Ho, ho, wont he so, &c.

But what is this hangs under his Chin,
Sing trolly, &c.
’Tis the Bag he puts his Provender in,
Ho, ho, is it so, &c.
Quoth he what is this? Quoth she ’tis a Well,
Sing trolly, &c.
Where Ball your Nag may drink his fill,
Ho, ho, may he so, &c.

But what if my Nag should chance to slip in,
Sing trolly, &c.
Then catch hold of the Grass that grows on the brim,
Ho, ho, must I so, &c.
But what if the Grass should chance to fail,
Sing trolly, &c.
Shove him in by the Head, pull him out by the Tail,
Ho, ho, must I so, &c.

Now listen a while, and I will tell

Now listen a while, and I will tell,
Of the Gelding of the Devil of Hell;
And Dick the Baker of Mansfield Town,
To Manchester Market he was bound,
And under a Grove of Willows clear,
This Baker rid on with a merry Cheer:
Beneath the Willows there was a Hill,
And there he met the Devil of Hell.

Baker, quoth the Devil, tell me that,
How came thy Horse so fair and fat?
In troth, quoth the Baker, and by my fay,
Because his Stones were cut away:
For he that will have a Gelding free,
Both fair and lusty he must be:
Oh! quoth the Devil, and saist thou so,
Thou shalt geld me before thou dost go.

Go tie thy Horse unto a Tree,
And with thy Knife come and geld me;
The Baker had a Knife of Iron and Steel,
With which he gelded the Devil of Hell,
It was sharp pointed for the nonce,
Fit for to cut any manner of Stones:
The Baker being lighted from his Horse,
Cut the Devil’s Stones from his Arse.

Oh! quoth the Devil, beshrow thy Heart,
Thou dost not feel how I do smart;
For gelding of me thou art not quit,
For I mean to geld thee this same Day seven-night.
The Baker hearing the Words he said,
Within his Heart was sore afraid,
He hied him to the next Market Town,
To sell his Bread both white and brown.

And when the Market was done that Day,
The Baker went home another way,
Unto his Wife he then did tell,
How he had gelded the Devil of Hell:
Nay, a wondrous Word I heard him say,
He would geld me the next Market Day;
Therefore Wife I stand in doubt,
I’d rather, quoth she, thy Knaves Eyes were out.

I’d rather thou should break thy Neck-bone
Than for to lose any manner of Stone,
For why, ’twill be a loathsome thing,
When every Woman shall call thee Gelding
Thus they continu’d both in Fear,
Until the next Market Day drew near;
Well, quoth the good Wife, well I wot,
Go fetch me thy Doublet and thy Coat.

Thy Hose, thy Shoon and Cap also,
And I like a Man to the Market will go;
Then up she got her all in hast,
With all her Bread upon her Beast:
And when she came to the Hill side,
There she saw two Devils abide,
A little Devil and another,
Lay playing under the Hill side together.

Oh! quoth the Devil, without any fain,
Yonder comes the Baker again;
Beest thou well Baker, or beest thou woe,
I mean to geld thee before thou dost go:
These were the Words the Woman did say,
Good Sir, I was gelded but Yesterday;
Oh! quoth the Devil, that I will see,
And he pluckt her Cloaths above her Knee.

And looking upwards from the Ground,
There he spied a grievous Wound:
Oh! (quoth the Devil) what might he be?
For he was not cunning that gelded thee,
For when he had cut away the Stones clean,
He should have sowed up the Hole again;
He called the little Devil to him anon,
And bid him look to that same Man.

Whilst he went into some private place,
To fetch some Salve in a little space;
The great Devil was gone but a little way,
But upon her Belly there crept a Flea:
The little Devil he soon espy’d that,
He up with his Paw and gave her a pat:
With that the Woman began to start,
And out she thrust a most horrible Fart.

Whoop! whoop! quoth the little Devil, come again I pray,
For here’s another hole broke, by my fay;
The great Devil he came running in hast,
Wherein his Heart was sore aghast:
Fough, quoth the Devil, thou art not sound,
Thou stinkest so sore above the Ground,
Thy Life Days sure cannot be long,
Thy Breath it fumes so wond’rous strong.

The Hole is cut so near the Bone,
There is no Salve can stick thereon,
And therefore, Baker, I stand in doubt,
That all thy Bowels will fall out;
Therefore Baker, hie thee away,
And in this place no longer stay.

Come Jug, my Honey, let’s to bed

John. Come Jug, my Honey, let’s to bed,
It is no Sin, sin we are wed;
For when I am near thee by desire,
I burn like any Coal of Fire.

Jug. To quench thy Flames I’ll soon agree,
Thou art the Sun, and I the Sea;
All Night within my Arms shalt be,
And rise each Morn as fresh as he.

CHO. Come on then, and couple together,
Come all, the Old and the Young,
The Short and the Tall;
The richer than
And poorer than Job,
For ’tis Wedding and Bedding,
That Peoples the Globe.

John. My Heart and all’s at thy command,
And tho’ I’ve never a Foot of Land,
Yet six fat Ewes, and one milch Cow,
I think, my Jug, is Wealth enow.

Jug. A Wheel, six Platters and a Spoon,
A Jacket edg’d with blue Galloon;
My Coat, my Smock is thine, and shall
And something under best of all.