As I was a-walking down Wapping
I stepped into Ratcliffe Highway,
And there I went into an alehouse
To spend all that night and next day.
Two charming young girls sat beside me,
They asked if I'd money to sport.
'Bring a bottle of wine, change a guinea.
I see you are one of the sort.'
The bottle was placed on the table
With glasses for every one;
When I asked for the change of my guinea
She gave me the verse of a song.
The old woman she flew in a passion,
And placed her two hands on her hip,
Saving: 'Young man, you don't know our fashion.
You think you're on board of your ship.'
'If that is your fashion, to rob me,
It's a fashion I don't much admire.
So tip me the change of my guinea,
Or a broadside into you I'll fire.'
The bottle that stood on the table
I quick at her head did let fly,
And down on the ground she did tumble
And loudly for mercy did cry.
The gold watch that hung on the mantel
I into my pocket did slip;
And, darn my old shoes, didn't I trick her,
And soon got aboard of my ship.
Our anchor being weighed at our bow, boys,
Our tops'ls being well sheeted home,
We soon bid adieu to fair London,
And all the flash girls in the town.
From the Oxford Book of Sea Songs
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Ratcliffe Highway (from The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs)