The Song Of The Beggar

The Song Of The Beggar
From “A Description of Love” 6th ed. (1629).


I am Rogue and a stout one,
  A most courageous drinker,
I doe excell, ’tis knowne full well,
  The Ratter, Tom, and Tinker.
    Still doe I cry, good your Worship good Sir,
      Bestow one small Denire, Sir 1 penny
    And brauely at the bousing Ken 2 ale-house
      He bouse it all in Beere, Sir. 3 drink


If a Bung be got by the hie Law, 4 purse; Notes
  Then straight I doe attend them,
For if Hue and Crie doe follow, I
  A wrong way soone doe send them.
      Still doe I cry, etc.


Ten miles vnto a Market.
  I runne to meet a Miser,
Then in a throng, I nip his Bung, 5 steal his purse
  And the partie ne’er the wiser.
    Still doe I cry, etc.


My dainty Dals, my Doxis, 6 girls; whores
  Whene’er they see me lacking,
Without delay, poore wretches they
  Will set their Duds a packing. 7 pawn their clothes
    Still doe I cry, etc.

I pay for what I call for,
  And so perforce it must be,
For as yet I can, not know the man,
  Nor Oastis that will trust me.
    Still doe I cry, etc.


If any giue me lodging,
  A courteous Knaue they find me,
For in their bed, aliue or dead,
  I leave some Lice behind me.
    Still doe I cry, etc.


If a Gentry Coue be comming, 8 gentleman
  Then straight it is our fashion,
My Legge I tie, close to my thigh,
  To moue him to compassion.
    Still doe I cry, etc.


My doublet sleeue hangs emptie,
  And for to begge the bolder,
For meate and drinke mine arme I shrinke,
  Vp close vnto my shoulder.
    Still doe I cry, etc.


If a Coach I heere be rumbling,
  To my Crutches then I hie me,
For being lame, it is a shame,
  Such Gallants should denie me.
    Still doe I cry, etc.


With a seeming bursten belly,
  I looke like one half dead, Sir,
Or else I beg with a woodden legge,
  And a Night-cap on me head, Sir,
    Still doe I cry, etc.


In Winter time starke naked
  I come into some Citie,
Then euery man that spare them can,
  Will giue me clothes for pittie.
    Still doe I cry, etc.


If from out the Low-countrie, 9 Notes
  I heare a Captaines name, Sir,
Then strait I swere I have bin there;
  And so in fight came lame, Sir.
    Still doe I cry, etc.


My Dogge in a string doth lead me,
  When in the towne I goe, Sir,
For to the blind, all men are kind,
  And will their Almes bestow, Sir,
    Still doe I cry, etc.


With Switches sometimes stand I,
  In the bottom of a Hill, Sir,
There those men which doe want a switch,
  Some monie give me still, Sir.
    Still doe I cry, etc.


Come buy, come buy a Horne-booke,
  Who buys my Pins or Needles?
In Cities I these things doe crie,
  Oft times to scape the Beadles.
    Still doe I cry, etc.


In Pauls Church by a Pillar; 10 Notes
  Sometimes you see me stand, Sir,
With a Writ that showes, what care and woes
  I past by Sea and Land, Sir.
    Still doe I cry, etc.


Now blame me not for boasting,
  And bragging thus alone, Sir,
For my selfe I will be praying still,
  For Neighbours have I none, Sir.
    Which makes me cry, etc.

       * * * * *


The Description of Love is an exceedingly scarce little “garland” which first appeared in 1620; but of that edition no copies are known to exist. Of the sixth edition, from which this example is taken, one copy is in the British Museum and another in the library collected by Henry Huth Esq. A somewhat similar ballad occurs in the Roxburgh Collection I, 42 (the chorus being almost identical), under the title of “The Cunning Northern Beggar”. The complete title is A Description of Love. With certain Epigrams, Elegies, and Sonnets. And also Mast. Iohnson’s Answere to Mast. Withers. With the Crie of Ludgate, and the Song of the Begger. The sixth Edition. London, Printed by M. F. for FRANCIS COULES at the Upper end of the Old-Baily neere Newgate, 1629.

Stanza II, line I. If a Bung be got by the Hie-law, i.e. by Highway robbery.

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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Rhymes Of The Canting Crew.
The Beggar’s Curse
Towre Out Ben Morts
The Maunder’s Wooing
A Gage Of Ben Rom-Bouse
Bing Out, Bien Morts
The Song Of The Beggar
The Maunder’s Initiation
The High Pad’s Boast
The Merry Beggars
A Mort’s Drinking Song
A Beggar I’ll Be
A Budg And Snudg Song
The Maunder’s Praise Of His Strowling Mort
The Rum-Mort’s Praise Of Her Faithless Maunder
The Black Procession
Frisky Moll’s Song
. . .