The Double Cross

The Double Cross


Though all of us have heard of crost fights,
And certain gains, by certain lost fights;
I rather fancies that its news,
How in a mill, both men should lose; 1 fight
For vere the odds are thus made even,
It plays the dickens with the steven: 2 money
Besides, against all rule they’re sinning,
Vere neither has no chance of vinning.
  Ri, tol, lol, etc.


Two milling coves, each vide awake,
Vere backed to fight for heavy stake;
But in the mean time, so it vos,
Both kids agreed to play a cross;
Bold came each buffer to the scratch, 3 man
To make it look a tightish match;
They peeled in style, and bets were making, 4 stripped
’Tvos six to four, but few were taking.
                 Ri, tol, lol, etc.


Quite cautiously the mill began,
For neither knew the other’s plan:
Each cull completely in the dark, 5 fellow
Of vot might be his neighbour’s mark;
Resolved his fibbing not to mind, 6 Notes
Nor yet to pay him back in kind;
So on each other kept they tout,
And sparred a bit, and dodged about.
              Ri, tol, lol, etc.


Vith mawleys raised, Tom bent his back, 7 hands
As if to place a heavy thwack;
Vile Jem, with neat left handed stopper,
Straight threatened Tommy with a topper;
’Tis all my eye! no claret flows, 8 blood
No facers sound—no smashing blows,
Five minutes pass, yet not a hit,
How can it end, pals ?—vait a bit.
                       Ri, tol, lol, etc.


Each cove vos teared with double duty,
To please his backers, yet play booty, 9 deceive them
Ven, luckily for Jem, a teller
Vos planted right upon his smeller 10 nose
Down dropped he, stunned; ven time was called
Seconds in vain the seconds bawled;
The mill is o’er, the crosser crost,
The losers von, the vinners lost.


See note to “Nix my Doll, Pals, etc.,” ante.

Taken from Musa Pedestris, Three Centuries of Canting Songs and Slang Rhymes [1536―1896], collected and annotated by John S. Farmer.

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. . .
The True Bottom’d Boxer
Bobby And His Mary
Flashey Joe
My Mugging Maid
Poor Luddy
The Pickpocket’s Chaunt
On the Prigging Lay
The Lag’s Lament
Nix My Doll, Pals, Fake Away
The Game Of High Toby
The Double Cross
The Thieves’ Chaunt
The House Breaker’s Song
The Faking Boy To The Crap Is Gone
The Nutty Blowen
The Faker’s New Toast
My Mother
The High-Pad’s Frolic
The Dashy, Splashy.... Little Stringer
The Bould Yeoman
The Bridle-Cull and his little Pop-Gun
. . .