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The Rural Dance About The May-pole Post by :russault Category :Poems Author :Unknown Date :May 2011 Read :1484

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The Rural Dance About The May-pole

(The most correct copy of this song is that given in The Westminster Drollery, Part II. p. 80. It is there called The Rural Dance about the May-pole, the tune, the first-figure dance at Mr. Young's ball, May, 1671. The tune is in Popular Music. The May- pole, for so the song is called in modern collections, is a very popular ditty at the present time. The common copies vary considerably from the following version, which is much more correct than any hitherto published.)

Come, lasses and lads, take leave of your dads,
And away to the may-pole hie;
For every he has got him a she,
And the minstrel's standing by;
For Willie has gotten his Jill,
And Johnny has got his Joan,
To jig it, jig it, jig it,
Jig it up and down.

'Strike up,' says Wat; 'Agreed,' says Kate,
'And I prithee, fiddler, play;'
'Content,' says Hodge, and so says Madge,
For this is a holiday.
Then every man did put
His hat off to his lass,
And every girl did curchy,
Curchy, curchy on the grass.

'Begin,' says Hall; 'Aye, aye,' says Mall,
'We'll lead up PACKINGTON'S POUND;'
'No, no,' says Noll, and so says Doll,
'We'll first have SELLENGER'S ROUND.' {1}
Then every man began
To foot it round about;
And every girl did jet it,
Jet it, jet it, in and out.

'You're out,' says Dick; ''Tis a lie,' says Nick,
'The fiddler played it false;'
''Tis true,' says Hugh, and so says Sue,
And so says nimble Alice.
The fiddler then began
To play the tune again;
And every girl did trip it, trip it,
Trip it to the men.

'Let's kiss,' says Jane, {2} 'Content,' says Nan,
And so says every she;
'How many?' says Batt; 'Why three,' says Matt,
'For that's a maiden's fee.'
But they, instead of three,
Did give them half a score,
And they in kindness gave 'em, gave 'em,
Gave 'em as many more.

Then after an hour, they went to a bower,
And played for ale and cakes;
And kisses, too;--until they were due,
The lasses kept the stakes:
The girls did then begin
To quarrel with the men;
And bid 'em take their kisses back,
And give them their own again.

Yet there they sate, until it was late,
And tired the fiddler quite,
With singing and playing, without any paying,
From morning unto night:
They told the fiddler then,
They'd pay him for his play;
And each a two-pence, two-pence,
Gave him, and went away.

'Good night,' says Harry; 'Good night,' says Mary;
'Good night,' says Dolly to John;
'Good night,' says Sue; 'Good night,' says Hugh;
'Good night,' says every one.
Some walked, and some did run,
Some loitered on the way;
And bound themselves with love-knots, love-knots,
To meet the next holiday.

Footnote: {1} The common modern copies read 'St. Leger's Round.'

Footnote: {2}The common stall copies read 'Pan,' which not only furnishes a more accurate rhyme to 'Nan,' but is, probably, the true reading. About the time when this song was written, there appears to have been some country minstrel or fiddler, who was well known by the sobriquet of 'Pan.' Frequent allusions to such a personage may be found in popular ditties of the period, and it is evidently that individual, and not the heathen deity, who is referred to in the song of Arthur O'Bradley:-

'Not Pan, the god of the swains,
Could e'er produce such strains.'--See ante, p. 142.

(The end)
Anonymous's poem: Rural Dance About The May-Pole

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