33. Gee ho Dobbin

     No. 29 33.
                           Gee O. ho Dobbin

As I was driving my waggon one day,
       I met a young maiden tight boxom and gay
I kindly accosted her with a low bow.
       And I felt my whole body I cannot tell how.
                                                   Gee. ho  Dobbin— &c high ho Dobbin    
                                                            Gee ho Dobbin—Gee up Gee ho
I long'd to


                                         3  2
I long'd to be at her and gave her [a] kiss
      She thought me but civil nor took it amiss
I know no recalling the minutes went fast
      So resolved to make hay while the sun shine did last 
                                                                                      Gee ho—

       We’re made for each other I preth prithe comply
She blush’d and commented[?] she consented
       She could not tell why.               Gee ho

Then down in the waggon this dearest I laid
       But still I kept driving for driving’s my trade
As her bubbies went up her plump buttock went down
       And the wheels seemd to stand and the Waggon go round
                                                                                                    Gee ho

Then to and again to our pastime we went
      And I play’d my cards fairly to Jenny’s content
I rumpled her feathers I tickled her scut[?]
      And we play'd the round rubbers at two handed put
              Well put Roger Well put Jenny, Well put Roger Gee up
                                                                                                    Gee ho

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This is a variant of a relatively well-known ballad that spawned numerous off-spring, many of which attempted to sanitize this, which was printed under various titles including "The Waggoner", the "Jolly Waggoner", "The Amorous Waggoner". This was a theme that became common in song. Probably the best-known is Roud 1088 "The Jolly Waggoners," collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams from Edward Rose in Norfolk, and later recorded by Fred Jordan from Shropshire and most famously by the Watersons. "The Jolly Waggoner" is more recent, however; Place is remembering an older song. 

There a droll of this printed by Jackson in the Bodleian, with the title The Waggoner or Ge ho Dobbin.

There are two versions in the Cambridge Madden collection (Madden Reel 10 Frame 6698, “The Amorous Waggoner,” and Madden Reel 10, Frame 7158, printed by Pratt, Birmingham).

Versions were printed in several songsters including with the score in  Apollo's Cabinet or Muses Delight (1756), The Gentleman's Concert (c1770) The Tulip or Musical Companion (c. 1750), and another in the Fond Mother’s Garland (1790).

The tune is recorded by Frank Kidson in “Songs of Britain” (p.70-71), with the note “One of the most popular of the 18th century tunes, and frequently used for topical songs. The original words are not suitable for reproduction, new ones have therefore been written for the air.” The tune is also included in Chappell’s “Popular Music of the Olden Time” (pp.690-1), which prints the tune along with the words to the first verse, as above, but is too coy to continue with the later verses. Chappell points out that the tune is included in Love in A Village (1762) with the words “if you want a young man with a true honest heart.” The tune has frequently been used as a dance tune. It's uncertain which came first the dance or the song, although Henry Atkinson's manuscript from Hartburn, Northumberland, dated 1694, suggests the tune dates back at least to the seventeenth century.

Oliver Goldsmith knew the song, and mentions it in an essay in his journal "The Busy Body" (October 13, 1759). Mr Micawber sings it in Charles Dickens' David Copperfield.

There are several cleaned up versions of this song, including “The Young Waggoner” (Roud V13359). There are also a number of songs that draw on Gee Ho Dobbin and use the same tune for other bawdy effects such as "The Buxom Dairy Maid" (Roud 12570). A recording of the original tune to Gee Ho Dobbin was made by Oskar Cox Jensen to accompany his book The Ballad-Singer in Georgian and Victorian London.


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