The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55837   Message #3882437
Posted By: Jim Dixon
15-Oct-17 - 03:13 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Maid with the Box on Her Head
Subject: Lyr Add: THE STAFFORDSHIRE MAID (from Bodleian, #1
The Bodliean has two editions called THE STAFFORDSHIRE MAID. No date is given, but the typography appears older than those called THE UNDAUNTED FEMALE. I have transcribed the following text from the one indexed as Harding B 1(96).


Come all ye young gallants, and listen awhile,
I'll tell you a story will make you to smile:
It is of a bold young Staffordshire maid,
Her part with a rogue of a tinker she play'd.

At Yarmouth this damsel did live as we hear,
Along with the farmer the space of a year;
But being desirous her parents to see,
She gave her master warning for to go away.

Her master in wages paid her four pound,
She put it in her box, with head-cloaths and gown
And having a box for to hold her cloaths,
With it on her head from her master she goes.

She had not been got from the town half a mile,
Before a bold tinker met her at a stile;
When smiling in her face, unto her he said,
Where are you going my charming fair maid?

I am going to Hurley, where my parents do dwell,
Then reply'd the Tinker I know them full well;
But be rulèd by me the tinker did say,
You'll surely be robb'd if you go the highway.

If you turn to the right it will be the same,
Then be rulèd by me, and go strait down this lane,
It is round about, yet better he said,
Than for to be robbèd, my charming fair maid.

She thankèd the tinker, and went on her way,
He soon call'd to her and bid her to stay:
I'm going down this lane the space of a mile,
But little she thought that he would her beguile.

Down the lane the maid and the tinker did walk,
Diverting each other with innocent talk,
Until they came to a lonesome place,
Then the tinker he look'd her so sly in the face.

What is in your box come tell unto me,
And taking it from her, demanded the key:
She said, She had lost it, with tears in her eyes,
A long pike staff the tinker lay by;

And while he was busied in opening the lock,
With the same she gave him a very great knock;
The knock that she gave him let him to know,
Her staff it was ready to give t'other blow.

Another she gave him on the side of the head,
The blood it run down: she left him for dead.
And said, Lie there villain and rogue in thy heart,
Thy traiterous actions have met their desert:

So taking her box on her head once again,
And as she was walking down the long lane,
There she met a gentleman, who did her entreat,
And ask'd her the favour to open the gate.

To open the gate that his horse might go thro',
And as the gentleman near to her drew,
He said, to whom doth the box on your head belong
To master or mistress, or have you done wrong?

No, I've done no wrong, but a crime that's as ill,
For I do believe a man I have kill'd.
Come shew me the man, he strait to her said,
And I will protect you from dangers, fair maid.

She shew'd him the place where the tinker lay dead,
A long stream of blood was run down from his head,
In his budget were pistols, with powder and ball,
And likewise a whistle his companions to call.

Also a hanger he had by his side,
A large pair of spurs, if occasion to ride;
He said, Fair damsel, you might have been abus'd,
These are odd sort of tools for a tinker to use.

He said, Fair maid, Have you courage to stand,
To fire a pistol when danger's at hand.
She said, I have, and never will start,
When dangers at hand I will soon play my part.

Then he took the whistle, and gave such a blow,
As made the groves to ring, and the thieves to crow
In a few minutes the villains did appear,
And seeing what was done, began for to swear,

They would be revengèd; then the maid without dread,
She cockèd her pistol, and kill'd one stone dead:
Another bold villain the gentleman shot,
Who fell to the ground stone dead on the spot.

Another bold villain seeing what was done,
He took to his heels, and away he did run;
The gentleman pursu'd him, and brought him to town,
Where the truth of the matter was quickly made known.

The gaoler to the assizes is come, it is said,
And for this the brave girl shal have money paid;
Full fifty bright guineas she made, it appears,
Besides the effects in the budget, we hear.

Now all the brave lads they were in a strife,
Who should gain this brave girl for a wife;
But none of them was ordainèd so right,
As he who made her a Lady so bright.