From the album Full Circle

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English Folk-Heritage

A hosanna to a band of ribald and riotous girls rocking on the Isle of Wight. Before the days of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the boardinghouse landladies, the little island was a prime place for smugglers of wines and spirits who unloaded their contraband in secret coves, before conveying it across the Solent to the mainland. Excise men prowled the streets with a bloodhound's nose for the hidden hogsheads, but night after night, a chronicler tells us, “the cellars of the Isle shook with the stamp and thwack of carousal.” The song belongs to the mid-eighteenth century, but it spread like wildfire, reaching the far north of England by the 1760's. The tune is a standard one but I have changed the meter to 6/8 time to more closely fit the scene the lyrics conjure up in my imagination.

Lyrics

English Folk-Heritage

There were three drunken maidens came from the Isle of Wight
They drunk from Monday morning non stop 'til Saturday night
When Saturday night did come me boys, They wouldn't then go out
And these three drunken maidens they pushed the jug about.

Well in comes bouncing Sally her cheeks as red as the bloom
Move up my jolly sisters and give young Sally some room
For I'll be your equal before that we go out
And these four drunken maidens they pushed the jug about

There's woodcock and pheasant, there's partridge & hare
There's all sorts of dainties, no scarcity was there
There's forty quarts of beer me lads, They fairly drunk them out
And these four drunken maidens, they pushed the jug about.

Well in comes the landlord, he's looking for his pay.
It' a forty pound bill, me boys, these girls were forced to pay.
That's ten pounds apiece, me boys, but still they wouldn't go out.
And these four drunken maidens, they pushed the jug about.

Oh where are your feathered hats, your mantles rich and fine?
They've all been swallowed up, in tankards of good wine.
And where are your maidenheads, you maidens brisk and gay?
We left them in the alehouse, we supped them clean away

© PhilDrane Music 2016