31. The Frolicsome Spark

                No. 31.
The Frolicsome Spark.

A frolicsome spark to’ther night, from a tavern came reeling out drunk,
Here Watchman come tip us a light,1 for I’m for a saucy young punk;
Old G[e]orge don’t you think that I joke, come hither you Gallows old ram,2
Be civil and dont me provoke, here’s a win for to buy you a dram.3

My load at the Fountain I got, my liquor was generous wine,
Damn the dog that refuses a pot, or a bottle of liquor divine;
I’m in mettle4 just right for some fun, and I dwell in the regions of love,
Through streets, lanes, and alleys, I’ll rove, in search of a girl for a shove.5

At length to a bawdy house came, don’t think think that I trifle or jest,
But bring me a flashy young piece,6 or blast me I’ll kick up a dust.7
The bawd from a window look'd out, is it my house you mean for to rob,
Be civil, and dont make a rout, or I’ve got one shall scuttle your nob.8

The blade9 much enraged at the threat, begun for to storm and to swear,
Why blast you I’ll soon make you sweat, you bawdy-house keeping old mare;
You gallows old greasy arse’d mule, I’m a lad that will never decamp,
If I don’t mill you[r] glaze damn my eyes, then smash went his stick at the lamp.

No sooner this action was done, than murder and watch they were bawl’d
Undaunted her windows he broke, and away to the watch-house was haul’d;
Where he tip’d them an ocean of swig,10 till care from each noddle was fled,11
Fast asleep left each drowsy old frig12 and bundled away to his bed.


Editors Notes:

1. tip us a light: show me a light

2. gallows old ram: sly old dog (Gallows could be used as a general intensifier, a ram was either a sexually potent man or a pickpockets accomplice)

3. win for to buy you a dram: penny to buy you a drink

4. in mettle: in the mood

5. for a shove: for sex

6. flashy young piece: attractive young girl

7. a dust: a fight

8. scuttle your nob: break your head

9. blade: man (usually a cad, or gallant; a man of the flash school)

10. tipp'd them an ocean of swig: gave them a large amount of alcohol

11. Till care from each noddle was fled: till concern had disappeared from their heads; so they didn't care any more

12. Drowzy old frig: lazy old tosser. (In the verb form frig means to masturbate or to have sexual intercourse, here it's a general derogatory term for the watchmen / prison wardens)

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I have been unable to locate this ballad elsewhere, and so this remains a unique testimony to another song replete with flash language. "Frolicsome Sparks" are frequently mentioned in ballads of this sort, and there are a series of Frolicsome Spark ballads going back to the early modern period. The Jolly Gentleman’s Frolic Or The City Ramble” shares a number of features with this song. Other "Frolicsome Spark" ballads include "The Monkey Turned Barber" (Roud 918) and "The Kissing Lasses of Yarmouth" (Roud V8076), which has been recorded by Bird in the Belly as Phoebe to Phylliss. Another song with the title "The Froclicsome Spark" appeared in The Rum Codger's Collection of Prime New Flash and Amatory Songs, printed by Edward Duncombe in around 1835. Despite the title of the collection, this lacks the flash language of Place's song.