Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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Bad idleness they do scorn; They rise very early i' th' morn,
And walk into the field,
Where pretty birds do yield Brave music on ev'ry thorn:
The linnet and thrush
Do sing on each hush, And the dulcet nightingale
Her note doth strain
In a jocund vein,
To entertain
That worthy train Which carry the milking pail.
Their labour doth health preserve, No doctors' rules they observe ;
While others, too nice
In taking their advice, [starve ; Look always as though they would
Their meat is digested,
They ne'er are molested, No sickness doth them assail;
Their time is spent
In merriment;
While limbs are lent,
They are content To carry the milking pail.
Those lasses nice and strange, That keep shops in the Exchange,
Sit pricking of clouts,
And giving of flouts; They seldom abroad do range :
Then comes the green sickness
And changeth their likeness, All this for want of good sale;
But 'tis not so,
As proof doth show, ■
By those that go
In frost and snow To carry the milking pail.
If they any sweethearts have That do affection crave,
Their privilege is this,
Which many others miss :— They can give them welcome brave.
With them they may walk,
And pleasantly talk, With a bottle of wine or ale;
The gentle cow
Doth them allow,
As they know how. God speed the plough, And bless the milking pail.
Upon the first of May,
With garlands fresh and gay; '
With mirth and music sweet,
For such a season meet, They pass their time away :
They dance away sorrow,
And all the day thorow, Their legs do never fail;
They nimblely
Their feet do ply,
And bravely try
The victory, In honour o' th' milking pail.
If any think that I Do practice flattery,
In seeking thus to raise
The merry milkmaids' praise, I'll to them thus reply :
It is their desert
Inviteth my art To study this pleasant tale;
In their defence,
Whose innocence
And providence
Gets honest pence Out of the milking pail.
There is another version of the above ballad in the Eoxburghe Collection (ii. 230), entitled " The innocent Country Maid's Delight; or a Description of the lives of the Lasses of London: set to an excellent Country Dance." It com­mences with the lines quoted by the milkmaid from the above sixth stanza: " Some lasses are nice and strange That keep shop in the Exchange."

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III