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Martin said to his man, fie, man, fie
Martin said to his man, who's the fool now?
Martin said to his man
Fill thou the cup and I the can
Thou hast well drunken man, Who's the fool now?

I saw the man in the moon, fie, man, fie
I saw the man in the moon, who's the fool now?
I saw the man in the moon
Clouting of St Peter's shoon
Thou hast well drunken man, Who's the fool now?

I saw a hare chase a hound
Twenty miles above the ground

I saw a goose ring a hog
And a snail bite a dog

I saw a mouse catch a rat
And a cheese eat a rat

Thou has well drunken man, Who's the fool now?

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Source: W Chappell, Popular Music of the olden times, 1859

This was republished from the source listed above in "Room for Company", ed Roy Palmer, Cambridge Press 1971, ISBN 0 521 8174 2

Roy refers to a version "printed in 1588" but does not give a more precise reference.

William Chappell's notes:

"This tune is in Queen Elizabeth's Virginal Book, and it is one of the Freemen's Songs in Deuteromelia, 1609. It was entered on the books of the Stationer's Register as a ballad in 1588, when Thomas Orwyn had a license to print it; and it is alluded to in Dekker's comedy, Old Fortunatus, where Shadow says: 'Only to make other idiots laugh, and wise men to cry Who's the fool now' which is the burden of every verse. It is thought to be a satire upon those who tell wonderful stories."

Ballad Literature and Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol.I p.76 (1859).

Claude M. Simpson (The British Broadside Ballad and Its Music, 1966) states that no broadside copies have survived. The set from Thomas Ravenscroft can be seen online at Greg Lindahl's The Music of Thomas Ravenscroft:


In his Book of British Ballads (1980) Roy Palmer quotes a Scottish variant, Wha's fu'?, and comments "It has been suggested that the English song may derive from an even older Scots original, since Who's the fool now? may be an Anglicisation of Wha's fu' the noo? (Who's drunk now?)."

Roud: 473 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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