THE BRISTOL LADY (AND THE PLAY) - Bliss
This is a complete reworking of The Discharged Drummer, collected by Maud Karpeles in Newfoundland, using the tune (verse only, there was no chorus) the charactors and a few of the nicer lines. (I found Maud's book at the wonderful Haslway Manor, in Somerset - home of the Wren Trust and now of the Peter Kennedy archive)
In Bristol lived a lady, long gone seventeen
Courted by so many, but no wedding had she seen
With a fine and famous fortune, no lover would she ever trust
To covet her just for beauty, and all suiters she rebuffed
With a whack for the tiddle-eye, foddle all the day
For the tyro gay, for the Bristol lady - and the play!
Till at length there came a drummer, a tyro proud and gay
Says will you be my lover, for you I’ll make a play
I know all about your fortune, care never any jot for that
I only care for dancing, and me drum's old rat tat tat
Says she; well, your eyes do sparkle, there's feathers all in your cap
I'd dance to your fine music, and your drum's old rat tat tat
But you're just a lowly soldier, how dare you speak so bold?
When you’ve only sticks and tabor, where I have lands and gold?
Well if you foresook your fortune, and stepped along with me
You could dance to me rat tat rhythm, and we’d live so wild and free
Let me make a demonstration, to help your heart to choose
I’ll slip into my rhythm while you slip out your shoes
Oh the devil is in your drum, Sir, my pulse is racing fast
You’ve done me with your rhythm, and won my heart at last
So I will foresake my fortune, and dance so wild and free
For what need I for riches if I own the love of thee?
Then says the tyro drummer, at last I may speak free
I too have lands and title, and gold as good as thee
I am surely in the army, but drumming’s just my fun
I'm a Lord in the North Country, and my love you've surely won
Oh no says this fine lady, your lies have ended that
You've tricked me to a false love, with your drum’s old rat tat tat
So let this be a lesson, on the worth of goods and gold
For now I’ll dance, not marry, with some other drummer bold!