The Fair Maid of Islington
Download Midi Version 1
Barry Taylor


Download Midi Version 2
Ron Clarke


Information
Lyrics
This is also known as The Vintner Over-Reached. The tune is Sellenger's Round or Caper and Ferk which was written by William Byrd in the early 17th century. The words appear in Thomas D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy (1707).

This is NOT the same as Child Ballad #105 (The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington).

There was a fair maid of Islington
As I heard many tell
And she was going to Londontown
Her pears and apples to sell
As she was going along the road
A Vintner did her espy
And what shall I give, fair maid, says he
One night with you to lie?
  And what shall I give, fair maid, says he
  One night with you to lie?

If you would lie with me one night
You must give me five pound
A match a match, the Vintner said
And so let this go round.
When he had lain with her all night
Her money she did crave
"O no, O no," the Vintner said
"The devil a penny you'll have."
  "O no, O no," the Vintner said
  "The devil a penny you'll have."

This maid she made no more ado
But to the justice went
This Vintner hired a cellar of me
And will not pay the rent
Then straight the justice for him sent
And asked the reason why
That he would pay this maid no rent
To which he did reply.
  That he would pay this maid no rent
  To which he did reply.

Although I hired a cellar of her
And the possession was mine
I ne'er put anything into it
But one small pipe of wine
This fair maid being ripe of wit
She straight replied again
There lay two butts at the cellar door
Why did you not roll them in?
  There lay two butts at the cellar door
  Why did you not roll them in?

The justice told the Vintner plain
If he a tenant be
He must expect to pay the price
For he could not sit rent-free
And when the maid her money got
She put it in her purse
And clapped her hand o'er the cellar
And swore it was never the worse.
  And clapped her hand o'er the cellar
  And swore it was never the worse.

Related Links
Information from Ron Clarke
and Pete's Favorite Poems, Fair Lass of Islington