There was an old woman liv’d under a hill

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X:1 T:There was an old woman liv’d under a hill L:1/8 M:C S:Chappell – Popular Music of the Olden Times Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:A E2|A2c2A2c2|A2c2B2E2|A3B c3B|ABcd e2e2| e2E2E2AG|F2D2G2 CD|E2 CD E2CD|E2 FG A2||



THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN LIV'D UNDER A HILL. AKA - "Ye ken what I mean pretty well, O," "Steggie (The)," "Trooper Watering His Nag." English, Air (4/4 time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. This bawdy song [Roud 1613] appears in Thomas D’Urfey’s Pills to Purge Melancholy (all editions), and ballad operas such as The Jovial Crew (1731). The lyrics began:

There was a maid went to the Mill,
Sing trolly lolly, lolly, lolly lo;
The Miller turned round, buth the Maid stood still,
Oh oh ho, oh oh ho, oh oh ho, did she so?

A variant (sometimes listed as a separate song) of both melody and words was printed under the title "The Trooper (Watering his Nag)" by D'Urfey, later printed Coeur d'Ennui Letchers Guild Songbook, edited by William Coeur du Boeuf, and similar publications of risque or bawdy verses. The verses were sanitized later in the century when printed in songsters. D'Urfey's words go:

There was an old woman lived under a hill,
Trolly lolly, lolly, lolly, lo!
She had good beer and ale for to sell,
Lolly lo, lolly lo, lolly, lolly, lolly lo!

She had a daughter her name was Siss,
She kept her at home for to welcome her guests.

There came a trooper riding by,
He call'd for drink most plentifully.

When one pot was out he called for another,
He kissed the daughter before the mother!

And when night came on, to bed they went,
It was with the mother's own consent!

Quoth she: "What is this so stiff and warm?"
"Tis Ball, my nag, he will do you no harm!"

"But what is this hangs under his chin?"
"Tis the bag he puts his provender in!"

Quoth he" "What is this?" Quoth she: "Tis a well,
Where Ball, your nag, may drink his fill!"

"But what if my nag should chance to slip in?"
"Then catch hold of the grass that grows on the brim!"
>br> "But what if the grass should chance to fail?"
"Shove him in by the head! Pull him out by the tail!"

A version survives in the nursery rhyme:

There was an old woman
Lived under a hill;
And if she's not gone,
She lives there still.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 2), 1859; p. 79. D'Urfey (Pills to Purge Melancholy, vol. 5), 1719-20; pp. 13-14. Scott (English Song Book), 1926; p. 2.






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