Folk and Traditional Song Lyrics:
Eppie Marly

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Eppie Marly

Eppie Marly

     Saw ye Eppie Marly, honey,
     The woman that sells the barley, honey?
     She's lost her pocket and a' her money,
     Wi' following Jacobite Charlie, honey.

     Eppie Marly's turned sae fine,
     She'll no gang out to herd the swine,
     But lies in her bed till eight or nine,
     And winna come down the stairs to dine.

     Chambers PRS (1847), 313; (1870), 385, an "anti-Jacobite
rhyme", whence  Montgomerie SNR (1946), 110 (no. 136). Moffat 50
TSNR (1933), 31 (with music), has var. Hae ye seen/ bonnie
Prince Charlie/ She'll no get up/ in bed. [Tune: drd m d d l,
l,s,s, d d dms l s sms l l sms l l sms sfm mrd d l, l, s,]
Burns had what may have been an alternative chorus:

     O little wats thou o' thy daddie, hiney,
     An' little wats thou o' thy daddie, hiney;
     For lairds and lords hae kiss'd thy minnie,
     An' little wats thou o' thy daddie, hiney.

[Cf. ODNR 159-61 (no. 152), with refs.]  Halliwell NRE (1842),
141 (no. CCLX) has
     "Nancy Dawson was so fine,
     She wouldn't get up to serve the swine,
     She lies in bed till eight or nine,
     So it's oh! poor Nancy Dawson."
He  adds: "Out of the many songs relating to the heroine of  the  following
stanza, one only has been deemed eligible for insertion in this volume."
[That is, the others are probably less than proper.]  His
1853 ed.  gives
     "Elsie Marley is grown so fine,
     She won't get up to feed the swine,
     But lies in bed till eight or nine,
     Lazy Elsie Marley",
by then a favourite in the nursery.

Nancy Dawson's Hornpipe is in the Gillespie MS. (1768), no. 250;
Nancy Dawson a Reel, in Cox MS., 204.  The tune is found in
6/8 and 4/4 time.  Before it got its name (from the fame of a
dancer in the 1760s) it turns up in J. Walsh, Caledonian
Country Dances III, no. 36 (c. 1744), as Piss upon the Grass.
[There is also a song called "Nancy Dawson" of (perhaps) the
early 19th century; Ford Vagabond Songs I (1899), 69 gives
the traditional Ayrshire version, beginning "There lived a
lass in yonder glen", and quotes (p.  73) a theatre version
of "about the middle of last century" (c. 1750?), beginning
"Of all the girls in our town".  The tune direction however
is not our "Mulberry Bush" but "The Cauldrife Wooer".]

See Tyneside Songs (1891), 22: "A New Song made on Alice
Marley, an alewife at Pictree, near Chester-le-Street." To
its own tune.

     Elsie Marley is grown so fine,
     She won't get up to serve her swine,
     But lies in bed till eight or nine,
     And surely she does take her time.


An' div ye ken Elsie Marley, honey?

The wife that sells the barley, honey;

She won't get up to serve her swine,

And do you ken Elsie Marley, honey?

     Elsie Marley is so neat,
     It is hard for one to walk the street,
     But every lad and lass they meet,
     Cries "Div ye ken Elsie Marley, honey?"

     Elsie keeps rum, gin, and ale,
     In her house below the dale,
     Where every tradesman, up and down,
     Does call and spend his half-a-crown.

     Elsie Marley wore a straw hat,
     But now she's gotten a velvet cap;
     The Lambton lads mun pay for that,
     Do you ken Elsie Marley, honey?

     The farmers, as they come that way,
     They drink with Elsie every day,
     And call the fiddler for to play
     The tune of "Elsie Marley," honey.

     The pitmen and the keelmen trim,
     They drink bumbo made of gin,
     And for the dance they do begin
     To the tune of "Elsie Marley," honey.

     The sailors they will call for flip,
     As soon as they come from the ship,
     And then begin to dance and skip,
     To the tune of "Elsie Marley," honey.
An' div ye ken, etc.

     Author unknown; from Ritson's Bishopric Garland, 1784.
     The fourth stanza, not in Ritson, "is given by Sharpe as
     current in the neighbourhood.  By the Lambton lads were
     meant the five brothers of the house of Lambton, all
     bachelors to a certain period, and all admirers of Elsie
     Marley."  The note at the head of the song says: "The
     maiden name of Alice, famous as Elsey or Ailcie Marley,
     was Harrison.  Her husband, Ralph Marley, kept the
     "Swan" public-house at Pictree.  Alice was a handsome,

     buxom, bustling landlady, and brought good custom to the
     house by her civility and attention.  Her end was a sad
     one.  She suffered from a long illness, and was found
     drowned in a pond near Biggs, into which it was supposed
     she had fallen, and could not extricate herself."

     Bell RNB (1812, 285) differs from the above as follows:
Cho. 3-4 She's lost her pocket and all her money,/ Aback o'
the bush i' th' garden, honey. 3.1 wine, gin, and ale, [this
stanza and the next are reversed in order] 4.3 She may thank
Lambton men for that, 6.3-4 And for to dance they do begin,/
The tune  [and 2 more stanzas:] Those gentlemen that go so
fine,/ They'll treat her with a bottle of wine,/ And freely
they'll sit down and dine/ Along with Elsie Marley, honey.//
So to conclude these lines I've penn'd,/ Hoping there's none
I do offend,/ And thus my merry joke doth end,/ Concerning
Elsie Marley, honey./ And do you ken, &c.
A conflated version in Bruce & Stokoe (1882), 112, with

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