The Potato Man

The Potato Man
from The Ranelaugh Concert...a choice collection of the newest songs sung at all the public places of entertainment.


I am a saucy rolling blade, 1 fellow
  I fear not wet nor dry,
I keep a jack ass for my trade,
  And thro’ the streets do cry
    Chorus. And they all rare potatoes be!
        And they’re, etc.


A moll I keep that sells fine fruit, 2 mistress
  There’s no one brings more cly; 3 money; Notes
She has all things the seasons suit,
  While I my potatoes cry.
      Chorus. And they all, etc.


A link boy once I stood the gag, 4 cry out
  At Charing Cross did ply,
Here’s light your honor for a mag, 5 halfpenny
  But now my potatoes cry.
    Chorus. And they all, etc.


With a blue bird’s eye about my squeeg, 6 handkerchief
  And a check shirt on my back, 7 Notes; neck.
A pair of large wedges in my hoofs,
  And an oil skin round my hat.
    Chorus. And they all, etc.


I’ll bait a bull or fight a cock,
  Or pigeons I will fly;
I’m up to all your knowing rigs 8 smart tricks
  Whilst I my potatoes cry.
    Chorus. And they all, etc.


There’s five pounds two-pence honest weight
  Your own scales take and try;
For nibbing culls I always hate, 9 cheating dealers
  And I in safety cry.
    Chorus. And they all, etc.


Stanza II, line 2. Cly = properly pocket, but here is obviously meant the contents.

Stanza IV, line 1. Blue bird’s-eye = a blue and silk handkerchief with white spots.

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

previous * next


. . .
The Maunder’s Praise Of His Strowling Mort
The Rum-Mort’s Praise Of Her Faithless Maunder
The Black Procession
Frisky Moll’s Song
The Canter’s Serenade
Retoure My Dear Dell
The Vain Dreamer
When My Dimber Dell I Courted
The Oath Of The Canting Crew
Come All You Buffers Gay
The Potato Man
A Slang Pastoral
Ye Scamps, Ye Pads, Ye Divers
The Sandman’s Wedding
The Happy Pair
The Bunter’s Christening
The Masqueraders
The Flash Man of St. Giles
A Leary Mot
The Night Before Larry was Stretched
The Song of the Young Prig
. . .