Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
Billy and His Mistress
Bagford Ballads
(Another Version)

(Anonymous. 1684. From Bagford Ballads, Pt. III.)

COME sit thee down, Billy, I have something to say,
In my mind I have kept it this many a day;
Your master, you know, is a fool and a sot,
And nothing he minds but the pipe and the pot:
    And if they pursue us, to the gazette we’ll fly,        5
    I’ll pull off my patteens, and on my back lie.
Till twelve or till one he seldom comes home,
And then he’s so drunk that he lies like a drone;
Such usage as this would make anyone mad,
And a woman must have it where ’tis to be had:
    And if they pursue us, etc.
O my dearest Mistress, this never can be,
That you should affect such a fellow as me;
But heaven forbid, though I am but your man,
That I should refuse to do all that I can:
    And if they pursue us, etc.
Your master’s diseased with gout and with stitches,        15
And nothing he can do but pull down his breeches;
And then he stands shaking as though he was dead,
And so like a woodcock he hangs down his head:
    And if they pursue us, etc.
O my dearest Mistress, I cannot deny,
For I find myself able your wants to supply;        20
And if you’ll support me with coin and with cash,
We’ll drink while my master shall bray like an ass:
    And if they pursue us, etc.
Prithee, my Billy, now do not mistrust,
In pocket and placket to thee I’ll be just;
Keep touch with your master, and then you shall see,        25
We’ll make his bags fly all where ever he be:
    And if they pursue us, etc.
O my dearest Mistress, but here lies the touch,
My wife at our pleasure will grumble and grutch;
She hath a quick eye, and her passion is strong,
She’ll shake our foundation or ere it be long:
    And if they pursue us, etc.
O my dearest Billy, why dost thou love she,
If thou dost, Billy, thou canst not love me;
For I never knew it all the days of my life,
That any man loved both his whore and his wife:
    And if they pursue us, etc.
To make him a cuckold none’s fitter than thee,        35
For the fool won’t believe it although he doth see;
A pint of burnt brandy, a pipe, and a coal,
Here’s a good health to Billy and to Billy’s hole:
    And if they pursue us, etc.
What though I do fight and endeavor to kill,
Yet my brave Billy will take my part still;        40
And I will do with him as long as I can,
So long as I know he’s a lusty young man:
    And if they pursue us, etc.
I thank thee now, Billy, for my flat fish,
And long did I think it ere I had my wish;
And if we do meet at the Bird-in-Hand door,        45
We’ll call for a room, and we’ll dance on the floor:
    And if they pursue us, etc.
Then Billy’s wife she looked in at the door,
What a devil, quoth she, do you down on the floor?
A dressing of flounders which you sent me last.
What a devil, quoth she, do you make sauce with your arse?
    And if they pursue us, etc.
As for our neighbors they are but all fools,
To meddle or make, because we use our own tools;
Pray then will you tell me, wherefore they were made,
And if to use ’em, we should be afraid;
    And if they pursue us, etc.
As for the small Hobnails, I have had none of those,        55
To spoil my cold face, nor to hurt my red nose;
The great ones are they which I most do fear,
If they come below they will spoil my best ware:
    And if they pursue us, etc.
And still we’ll be merry, and leave off all passion,
I had rather be dead than to live out of fashion;        60
My father and mother they were of that trade,
And I for that purpose so brazen was made:
    And if they pursue us, etc.
But as for the Gazette, we’ll come no more there,
For why? They do keep an old screeking chair;
Beside that, the woman’s a blab of her tongue,        65
And we’ll find out another place ere it be long:
    And if they pursue us they shall ne’er find us out,
    And yet we are resolved to have the other bout.

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