Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Poll the Grogseller

Words:  Charles Thatcher
Tune:  John Medex Maddox (Philip the Falconer)

Big Poll the Grogseller gets up every day
And her small rowdy tent sweeps out;
She's turning in plenty of tin people say
For she knows what she's about.
Polly's good-looking, and Polly is young,
And Polly's possessed of a smooth oily tongue;
She's an innocent face and a good head of hair,
And a lot of young fellows will often go there;
And they keep dropping in handsome Polly to court,
And she smiles and supplies them with brandy and port
And the neighbours all say that the whole blessed day,
She is grog-selling late and early.

Two sly-grog detectives have come up from town,
And they both roam about in disguise;
And several retailers of grog are done brown,
And have reason to open their eyes:
Of her small rowdy crib they are soon on the scent;
But Polly's prepared when they enter her tent;
They call for some brandy - "We don't sell it here,
But", says Poll, "I can give you some nice ginger beer,"
And she adds, "do you see any green in my eye?
To your fine artful dodge and disguise I am fly;
For if Polly you'd nail, you'd have, without fail,
To get up in the morning early."

From Thatcher's Colonial Minstrel (1864), published with the note:

A new parody of Philip the Falconer as written and sung by Thatcher at the Shamrock.

This tune from the Joy Durst Memorial Song Collection.

The original song was published as part of a Christmas pantomine in 1847.  While JM Maddox is given as the author, he may not have written the song (unless it was a bizarrely popular song-title) as the following front-page (without music) is also available:

If you're really keen, here are the lyrics of the original (from the Arkansas Traveller's Songbook, a collection of 19th century show-tunes):

Young Philip the falconer's up with the day,With his merlin on his arm,
And down the mill meadows has taken his way
To hawk—and pray where's the harm?
Philip is stalwart, and Philip is young,
And Philip, they say, has a musical tongue.
The miller's young sister is fresh and is fair,
And Philip he always is hawking there!
For he vows and declares, believe it or not,
There's not in the kingdom, for herons, such a spot ;•
And falcons, they say, to fly true to their prey,
Should be trained in the morning early.

The miller's to market to buy him some corn,For work it should never stand still;
A maiden is loitering under the thorn,
In the meadow below the mill;
And Philip's grown tired of a bachelor's life—
Thinks the miller's young sister would make a good wife:
And so comes a whisper, and so comes a smile,
And then a long leave-taking over the stile.
Oh, when he returns from market, I guess,
The miller will find he's a sister the less I
For maidens, they say, do not always say " Nay"
When they're asked in the morning early.

The miller's returned to a comfortless home,No maiden's sweet voice is there;
He sought o'er the hills, through the valleys and field
For comfort his spirits to cheer.
But the birds sang less sweetly, the streams murmured low
 The winds were all cross, and the mill wouldn't go:
But he met little Mary just down by the lea— [hearts free
Now they both had long loved, when they thought they "
0 Mary," he said, and her hand pressed the while,
" Shall we talk of our wedding just down by the stile ?"
She blushed, turned away, but she didn't say " Nay,"
So they married one morning early.

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