Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 7 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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Whan thir twa loves had met thegither, 0 kissing to tak their fill,
The slaver that hang atween their twa gabs Wad hae tether'd a ten year auld bill, bill, Wad hae .tether'd a ten year auld bill. es
From Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England, edited by Robert Bell, p. 124. This ballad, says the editor, " has long been popular in Worcestershire and some of the adjoining counties. It was printed for the first time by Mr. Allies of Wor­cester, under the title of The Jovial Hunter ofBroms-grove ; but amongst the peasantry of that county, and the adjoining county of Warwick, it has always been called The Old Man and his Three Sons—the name given to a fragment of the ballad still used as a nur­sery song in the north of England, the chorus of which slightly varies from that of the ballad : (see p. 250 of the same publication.) Mr. Bell imagines that there is an allusion to this ballad in As You Like It, i. 2, where Le Beau says
" There comes an old man and his three sons,"
and Celia replies,
"I could match this beginning with an old tale."