Queen of Sluts

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X: 1 T: The Queen Of Sluts R: reel M: 4/4 L: 1/8 S: https://thesession.org/tunes/6225 Z: dafydd K: Dmaj |:d2 AF GABc|d2 AF GEEA|d2 AF GABc|1dfec d2d2:|2 dfec d2 cd|| |:e2 cA e2 cA|Bcde dcBA|AFGA Bcde|1dcBc d2 cd:|2dcBc d2d2||



QUEEN OF SLUTS. English, Reel. England, Northumberland. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The tune is a version of "Kilwinning's Steeple," by 19th century Ayrshire fiddler-composer Hugh Gilmour, also called "Clock in the Steeple (The)." The "Queen of Sluts" title is a common epithet meaning a ‘woman of loose morals’--‘slut’ is attested from c. 1400 to have had such a pejorative meaning, although the tern has also been used to refer to a ‘slattern’, even with some affection. Abigail Adams, for example, the wife of John Adams (the 2nd President of the United States, but at the time American minister to France) wrote in a letter from Paris that wax-modeler Patience Wright, a Quaker of untidy dress and direct manners was a "Queen of Sluts."

The title may be associated with a 17th century broadside ballad called "An Invitation to Lubberland", first printed in 1685 [1], a fantasy that some believe was the inspiration for the hobo ballad that formed the basis of the song "Big Rock Candy Mountain" (recorded in 1928 by Harry McClintock). Seán Donnelly, in his excellent article "'Not So Wicked as to Commit Sacrilege': A Theft at Christmas 1721 from the Chapel of st. Nicholas Without, Francis Street, Dublin" [2] notes that "In ‘Lubberland’, the buildings are made of food, rivers run with wine and brandy, custards grow on bushes, and wild and domestic animals beg to be killed and eaten: all appetites are catered to, including gambling and sex." The fourth stanza of "Lubberland" goes:

The king of Knaves, and Queen of Sluts
Reign there in peace and quiet;
You need not fear to starve your guts,
There is such store of dyet:
There may you live free from all care,
Like hogs set up a fat'ning;
The garments which the people wear
Is silver, silk and satin.

However, it is certainly not the only literary reference to "Queen of Sluts." William Wycherly used it thus in his poem "Hero and Leander in Burlesque" (London, 1669, p. 33):

In the next place the Queen of Sluts alone is,
With dainty fine Hober-de-Hoy Adonis.

Donnelly says the male counterpart to Queen of Sluts, "King of Knaves" is much better-attested:

A beggar king to be found inmost societies from Classical times onward, and he could be described as a constitutional monarch in that he normally owed his crown to election or acclamation. He was usually a man whose fellow beggars looked up to: he could adjudicate disputes and enforce his authority; he was clever and more than usually successful in his calling; and was seen as a worthy representative of his community with official authorities. Most major cities would have their King of the Beggars down to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. For example, when the lord deputy of Ireland, Thomas Wentworth, visited Kilkenny in 1637, the city corporation’s expenses included a shilling paid on 18 September ‘to the Captaine of the beggars’. A lateexample of the title comes from nineteenth-century Cork,when the artist, Stephen O’Driscoll, painted the King of the Beggars then reigning in the city.



Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Hall & Stafford (Charlton Memorial Tune Book), 1956; p. 15. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 142.

Recorded sources: -



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