Provident Damsel (The)
Back to Provident Damsel (The)
PROVIDENT DAMESEL (THE). English, Air and Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "The Provident Damsel" was a song sung by Miss Raftor in James Miller's  (1704–1744) comedy The Humours of Oxford (1730, Act 4 Scene 1), written while he was still a student at Wadham-College, Oxford.
As fiddlers and archers, who cunningly know
The way to procure themselves merit,
Will always provide them two string to their bow,
And manage their bus'ness with spirit;
So likewise the provident damsel shou'd do,
Who wou'd make the best use of her beauty;
If the mark she woul'd hit, or her lesson play through,
Two lovers must still be on duty.
Thus arm'd against chance, and secure of supply,
Thus far our revenge we may carry:
One spark, for our sport, we may jilt and set by;
And t'other, poor soul! we may marry.
The song frequently appears in 18th century anthologies and songsters, and was issued on songsheets.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Wright (Wright's Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances), London, 1740; p. 91.