Mudcat Café message #3245115 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17061   Message #3245115
Posted By: Jim Dixon
26-Oct-11 - 12:31 PM
Thread Name: DTStudy: The Basket of Eggs
Subject: Lyr Add: BITE UPON BITE (from Bodleian)
From a broadside in the Bodleian collection, Douce Ballads 3(4a):

[I have modernized the punctuation, adding quotation marks, etc.]

Miser Outwitted by the Country Lass,

1. You pretty young maidens, I'd have you draw near.
Attend to this ditty, which I shall declare.
'Tis of a young West-country maid,
Who' rais'd her fortune by the pranks she has play'd.
This maid she lived with a young 'squire,
She being both charming, brisk, airy(?), and young.
He used his endeavour, and at last gain'd her favour,
And thus for to court her the squire begun.

2. "You sweet lovely creature, if you'd but consent
To give me your maidenhead, I do protest
I'll cloath you, my dear, like a lady of fame.
In pearls and rich jewels my love shall be drest.
Be no longer coy, my dear creature," he cry'd,
"But yield up your charms with a heart and good-will,
For when I've enjoy'd I ne'er shall be cloy'd,
But I'll adore and admire you still."

3. The thoughts of that treasure the girl did invite,
Then freely her maidenhead she did resign;
But soon her fair beauty began for to fade.
Her belly grew big within a little time.
This maid was forced her service to quit.
Because that her squire was both gallant and gay,
She dare not make known, or her father to show,
But patiently took the kind favour of fate.

4. She went to her mother, and there she lay in,
In private not known to the rest of her kin.
The child being born, and a daughter so fair,
They christened it Maidenhead, I do declare.
"Now, daughter," says the good old woman,
"I'd have you ride up to fair London town,
And see if your maidenhead there you can sell.
Pray bring it not back if you sell it for a crown.

5. "Here's the old mare; it's blind with one eye,
So take her and saddle her instantly.
With eggs and butter the hampers I'll load.
The same you may sell to keep you on the road."
The girl soon agreed to take the young babe.
In one of the hampers the child she laid down,
This same maidenhead. "Come, before I return,
I warrant I'll sell thee for more than a crown."

6. She rode all the day till evening drew on.
At length came three gentlemen riding along.
One was an old miser; his age was threescore.
He had a colt's tooth, for he loved a whore.
The old man he cry'd, "You sweet lovely creature,
Oh! where are you going, pray let me hear?"
"To London," she said, "to sell my maidenhead,
For I am weary of it I declare."

7. "You are a sweet creature," the old man he said.
"Pray what's the price of your maidenhead?"
She answer'd, "Fifty pound is the sum,
And if it's e'er sold, the money I'll have down."
"Oh! fifty pound," reply'd the old miser.
"I'm startled to hear you ask such a price,
But I swear, charming creature, you make my chops water,
For I'm for a bit that's handsome and nice.

8. "So here's forty guineas I'll freely lay down."
She says, "I'll not bite you so much as a crown."
The old man he said, "If I must pay so dear,
I'd have the butter and eggs I declare."
"Well, that you shall," reply'd the girl,
"So to the next inn let's jog away."
But the miser reply'd, "You shall lay by my side,
My sweet pretty creature, till the break of day."

9. She answered, "I'll have the bargain made fair.
Your friends will both be witness there.
Before that I do alight from my mare,
I will have the money, I solemnly swear."
The other two gentlemen said to him, "Sir,
I'm sure for your fancy you pay a good price."
"So," says the old fellow, in wine being mellow,
"I tell you I love something handsome and nice."

10. At length they all four came riding to the inn.
Young Maidenhead to whimper she did begin.
"Oh! what's that alive in the hamper I pray?"
"A fine sucking pig, oh! yours," she did say.
"A noble bargain," said the old miser.
"The pig in the hamper I likewise did buy."
The inn-keeper was sent for without more delay,
To witness the matter. The old man he cry'd:

11. "Sir, I've bought a bargain, as now you may see,
And you to the same must a witness be.
This damsel has sold me her maidenhead,
Besides the two hampers of butter and eggs,
And any thing else in the hampers may be.
So witness the matter I pray as you see."
As she sat on the mare, the money was paid there.
The girl said, "Sir, you're welcome heartily."

12. He lifted her down, and sat her on her legs,
Saying, "Hostler, take care of her butter and eggs.
Likewise of our horses I'd have you take care.
Then next for the Maidenhead, my pretty dear."
Then without delay, they made no long stay,
But the old man he handed her into the room,
Saying, "My dear honey, you've got all my money.
The rest of the bargain I hope to have soon."

13. As they was at supper, and merrily sat,
The hostler came running up in a great fright,
Saying, "Sir, in the hampers you put in my care
You've something alive I solemnly swear."
"It's a young pig," the old man did say.
"Go fetch it up here without more delay,
For as I'm a sinner, it will serve us for dinner,
To morrow before we both go away."

14. "If that be a pig in the hamper of eggs,
I verily think it has got but two legs,
For if I'm not mistaken," the man did reply,
"I think it's a child in the hamper does cry."
"The fellow's a fool," the old man did say.
"Go fetch it up hither, and then I shall see,
For I've bought the hampers of butter and eggs
And any thing else in the hampers may be."

15. The hostler then to the stable went down,
And soon with the matter acquainted the groom.
They went to the hampers and watched the same.
They found little Maidenhead carefully laid.
The poor little babe began for to squall,
As they up stairs the hamper did haul,
Saying, "Sir, by my troth, a fine bargain you've bought."
The old man hearing the babe thus bawl,

16. He look'd on the mother, and thus he did say:
"How came this child in the hamper I pray?"
She said, "It's my Maidenhead, sir, which you've bought.
You've but your own bargain; it's your own fault."
"The Devil may go with the bargain," said he,
"And you are a jilt for thus biting of me.
But the money I gave you, I'll have ere I leave you,
If this is your bargain, pray take it from me."

17. "Not I," said the lass. "You the bargain did buy,
And I'll not receive it, no, not I."
The inn-keeper said, "Pray take up your child,
For you fairly have bought, and fairly paid for't."
"For pity's sake," reply'd the old miser,
"Pray stand on my side, for she's above paid."
"No," said the inn-keeper. "The child you must keep, sir.
No charge to the parish I mean to have laid."

18. The old man he took the child in his lap.
The inn-keeper's wife she gave it some pap.
The child it did squall; the old man did fret.
His friends they did laugh to see him thus bit.
At length in a passion he to him did say:
"A constable fetch without more delay.
The strumpet I swear shall go to the mayor.
The matter he'll decide I dare say."

19. The constable came, and the girl was fetch'd down,
To answer the thing to the mayor of the town,
But the best of the jest, as for truth it is said,
They made the old fellow to carry the babe.
The country folks all flock'd to the mayor,
To see the old man with the Maidenhead there,
And when they came in the lass did begin:
"Sir, if you the truth of the matter will hear,

20. "It's my first child; it come by-the-by.
I dare not," said she, "the father to own.
The child I nam'd Maidenhead, sir," she reply'd.
"My mother she sent me to fair London-town,
To see if my maidenhead there I could sell,
And this gentleman bought it as I for truth tell,
As these gentlemen can my witness be,
For they heard the bargain, and know't very well."

21. The old man he brings the child to the mayor,
Saying, "This is a lie, sir, I solemnly swear,
For it was her Maidenhead, sir, I did buy."
"Why then you've your bargain," the mayor did reply.
"Do you think, sir, I'd give fifty pound for this brat?
No, no, sir, you are much mistaken in that.
I thought for my treasure to have some pleasure,
For I really wanted a bit for my cat."

22. "A bit for the cat," then answer'd the mayor,
"I think a rare lump of flesh you have there.
Come, gentlemen, now the truth do not deny.
Pray was it her Maidenhead which he did buy?"
The gentlemen gave their oath to the thing,
And so did the master indeed of the inn.
The mayor said, "Old man, get a nurse if you can,
And send the poor girl to her mother again."

23. The old man he put the child to nurse in the town,
And fifty pound security he then did put down.
The girl home with joy to her mother did ride,
And shew'd her the gold. The old mother cry'd:
"I think you your Maidenhead, child, have well sold,
For here's a fine sight of silver and gold.
Since so lucky you have been then at it again.
I'd do it myself, if I was not so old."