25. The Jolly Butcher

                       No. 25.
           The Jolly Butcher
Tune – Of noble race was Shinkin

There was a Jolly Butcher,
      He liv’d at Norton Folgate1 
      He kept a stall, at Leadenhall
And got drunk at the Dog at Aldgate.

    He ran down Houndsditch reeling
    At Bedlam he was frighted,
He in Moorfields, beshit his heels
And at Hoxton he was wiped.

      His mother she came to him,
      Who once liv’d down at Dover,
      She gave him a pot, of the best gin hot,
      And he spew’d her lap all over

     His sweetheart next came to him,
     With a rolling eye so charming
     She was rugged and tough
     And lov’d, huckle-my-muff2 
And would drink from night till morning

    Her name it was Nell Larking
    And thus she said unto him
    If you’ll go home Dick,
    I’ll pay of your tick
And save your soul from ruin

Would you leave these wild companions
Bob Baker and Ned Harden.
By your knife and your steel,
You might live genteel
And come to be church Warden.

Consider dearest Dickey
You’ve got a wealthy grannum
She now is sick— and will leave you Dick
Near fifteen pound per annum.

Says Dick, my sweetest creature,
I am Poor so I must go beyond sea,
Then Give me, my girl
But one pot of purl,
And I’ll love the as long as I can see.

While thus they talked so clever,
The constables came smack in,
To the Bridewell, in Clerkenwell
They sent poor Nelly packing.

And as for Dick the Butcher,
Three Bailiffs took him napping,
     No bail could he get
     And he lies for debt 
At the spunging house at Wapping

Editor's Notes

[1. Wikedepia: Norton Folgate was a liberty within the metropolitan area of London, England, located between the Bishopsgate ward of the City of London to the south, the parish of St Leonard, Shoreditch to the north and the parish of Spitalfields to the east.

2. Jonathan Green, Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang: “1. A mixture of gin and ale. 2. A drink made by heating beer eggs and brandy together.”

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A near-identical version of this appears in “The Humours of London, A Choice Collection of Songs for All Those Who Render Themselves Agreeable,” [c.1770] which may well have been Place’s source (even the tune name is identical). Butchers were very popular in ballads generally.  Jolly Butcher was a character who appears in some traditional Robin Hood stories. The Tune “Of Noble Race Was Shinkin” was a seventeenth century dance tune recorded by John Playford with the title “Indian Queen / Of Noble Race was Shinkin.” There is a recording on the album “Johnny, Cock thy Beaver - Popular Music-Making in 17th-Century England” by the Dufay Collective (Chandos). It appears in The Beggar’s Opera Act 2 Scene XI, Air 31. D’Urfey used it in his the Richmond Heiress.