Adam and Eve could never believe
That Peter the miller was dead;
Shut up in the tower for stealing of flour,
And never could get a reprieve,
And never could get a reprieve.
They bored a hole in Oliver's nose,
And put therein a string,
And drew him round about the town
For murdering Charles our king,
For murdering Charles our king.
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Source: Lucy Broadwood and J A Fuller Maitland. 1893, English County Songs, Leadenhall Press, London
Sung to the Stratton Church Chimes, Cornwall.
Lucy Broadwood's notes follow:
[Referring to the line "And never could get a reprieve"]
Possibly in the original this ran "And forced to lose his head."
Mr Kidson writes: This is evidently originally a nursery or nonsense rhyme, with what appears to be an addition or alteration as early as Cromwell's time. See Hone's Every Day Book, vol i, p 718, for a custom connected with with the subject of this song kept up as late as 1831 at Tiverton, Devon, on Restoration Day, May 29. In Peter Buchan's Ancient Ballads of the North of Scotland (1828), is a nonsense song, one verse of which is:I bought a wife in Edinburgh
For ae bawbie,
I got a farthing in again
To buy tobacco wi'.
We'll bore in Aaron's nose a hole
And put therein a ring,
And straight we'll lead him to and fro;
Yea, lead him in a string.
As Hone's book may not be too readily available, see Steve Roud's The English Year for an account of other activities on Restoration Day (May 29th). Tiverton is not explicitly named in his lists.
Roud: 1387 (Search Roud index at VWML)