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I am a brisk and bonny lass,
A little over twenty.
And by my comely air and dress,
Of sweethearts I've got plenty.
But I'll beware of wedlock's snare,
Tho' dying swains adore me,
The men I'll tease, myself to please,
My mother did so before me.

With fine brocade and diamonds bright,
Like merry Spring delighting,
My heart, my humours all delight,
For my sweet face's inviting.
I take delight, both day and night,
To be talked of in story.
I'll have it said: Here shines a maid!
my mother did so before me.

To parks and plays I often go,
I'll waste each leisure hour;
I'll walk and talk with every beau,
And make them feel my power.
If e'er a spark should fire my heart,
From one who does adore me,
I'll wed and kiss, in married bliss,
my mother did so before me.

So well I'll manage when I'm wed,
My husband to perfection,
And as good wives have always said,
Keep husbands in subjection.
No snarling fool me e're shall rule,
Nor e'er eclipse my glory,
I'll let him see, mistress I'll be,
my mother did so before me.

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Source: Songs of the West by S. Baring Gould

Baring Gould notes:
This song is based on the old English ditty "My Father was Born before Me", as may be seen at once by comparing the first few lies.

"I am a lusty, lively lad
Now come to one and twenty,
My father left me all he had,
Both gold and silver plenty.
Now he's in grave, I will be brave,
The ladies shall adore me,
I'll court and kiss, what hurt's in this?
My father did so before me."

The first appearance of this ballad is in Thomas Jordan's "London Triumphant," 1672. It was taken by D'Urfey into his "Pills to purge Melancholy," vol i, 1699 and 1707. The air appears in the "Dancing Master" as "Jamaica," 4th edition,1670, and in those subsequent.
The tune was taken down to the song from S. Fone by Mr Shepherd in 1895.
The song appears without music in "The Nightingale," a song book published in Edinburgh, 1776, and is given by Logan in his "Pedlar's Pack," 1869, from a chap-book of 1804. It occurs also on a Broadside by Pitts of Seven Dials. It is also in "The Quaver," Lond 1831.
The tune we have taken down is certainly based on the early air as given in the "Dancing Master," It is in Chappell, ii. p. 446.

Roud: 6915 (Search Roud index at VWML)

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