The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #155766   Message #3667616
Posted By: Jim Dixon
09-Oct-14 - 03:33 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Along Came The Devil
Subject: Lyr Add: "Have you seen the devil...?"
From English Folk-Rhymes edited by G. F. Northall (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1892), page 306:

In Hunt's Popular Romances of the West of England, 8vo, 1872, p. 245, is given—

Here's to the devil,
With his wooden pick and shovel,
Digging tin by the bushel,
With his tail cock'd up?

In Warwickshire there are three verses—

Have you seen the devil,
With his wood and iron shovel,
Digging up potatoes
In the turnpike road?

Have you seen his wife,
With a broad-bladed knife,
Scraping the potatoes
In the turnpike road?

Have you seen his daughter,
With a pail of dirty water
Washing the potatoes
In the turnpike road?

There is sometimes an additional verse, possibly modern—

Have you seen his son,
With a double-barrel'd gun,
Shooting birds for dinner
In the turnpike road?

These rhymes probably owe their origin to the familiar belief, that the devil on occasions undertakes labour for mortals, and gets through an enormous amount of work.