The Beggars' Chorus

Melody - from "The Jovial Crew"

There was a jovial Beggar,
He had a wooden Leg;
Lame from his Cradle,
And forced for to Beg;

And a Begging we will go,
We'll go, we'll go,
And a Begging we will go.
  A Bag for my Oatmeal,
Another for my Salt,
A little pair of Crutchcs,
To see how I can Halt1):

A Bag for my Bread,
Another for my Cheese,
A little dog to follow me
To gather what I leese2):

A Bag for my Wheat,
Another for my Rye,
A little Bottle by my side,
To drink when I am dry:

1)limp, 2)lose
"Vagrancy was one of the most pressing social problems of the age of the Tudors and early Stuarts, and the crime was taken so seriously because, to the dominant classes, vagabonds appeared to threaten the established order." Nevertheless, songs celebrating beggars enjoyed a considerable vogue. Richard Brome's play Jovial Crew; or, The Merry Beggars of 1641 had several such pieces.

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