Lyrics

A merchant's son he lived in wrong
Unto the beggin' he has gone
He has mounted on a noble steed
An' away wi' pleasure he did ride

Singing Fal de ral, fal the day

A beggar wench he chanced to meet
A beggar wench with a low degree
He took pity on her distress
An' says: "Ma lass, you've a pretty face"

Singing Fal de ral, fal the day

They both inclined for to have a drink
Into a public house they both went
They both drank ale an' brandy too
Till both o' them got roarin' fou

Singing Fal de ral, fal the day

They both inclined now to go to bed
And under covers soon were laid
Strong ale and brandy went to their heads
Till both o' them lay as they were dead

Singing Fal de ral, fal the day

It wis early on, the wench she rose
An' puttin' on the merchant's clothes
With a hat so wide an' a sword on too
An' she's awa' wi' his money, too

Singing Fal de ral, fal the day

It wis early next mornin' the merchant rose
An' lookin' round for to find his clothes
There wis nothing left there in the room
Bit a ragged petticoat an' a wincey gown

Singing Fal de ral, fal the day

The merchant being a stranger in the town
An' puttin' on the old under-gown
An' down the street he solemnly swore
He wid never lie wi' a beggar no more

Singing Fal de ral, fal the day

The first known copy of this song is in "A Collection of Old Ballads" (London, 1723), and Logan, in his "Pedlars Pack", prints a version from later in the same century under the title "The Merchant's Son and the Beggar Wench of Hull".

Singers in Aberdeenshire were still giving Hull as the location when Gavin Greig was collecting at the beginning of the last century although Dean Christie records hearing a version as "The Beggar Wench of Woles".

fou = drunk

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