Musical Sources: William Byrd's Fitzwilliam Virginal Book II, 236; Will Forster's MS Virginal Book, p. 460. Many other late 16th century sources.
Lyrics Sources: A circa 1590 broadside ballad reprinted in Joseph Lilly's A Collection of Seventy-Nine Black-letter Ballads and Broadsides, printed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, between the years 1559 and 1597. London, 1867. This version is given below. There are also alternate lyrics in a manuscript named MS Rawl. poet 185, also dated circa 1590.
Tune from Simpson - click here for printable - click here for MIDI
1. There was a maid this other day,
And she would needs go forth to play;
And as she walked she sithd and said,
I am afraid to die a mayd.
With that, behard a lad,For I will, without faile,
Mayden, giue you Watkins ale;
Watkins ale, good sir, quoth she,
What is that I pray you tel me?
2. Tis sweeter farre then suger fine,
And pleasanter than muskadine;
And if you please, faire mayd, to stay
A little while, with me to play,
I will giue you the same,He took this mayden then aside,
And led her where she was not spyde,
And told her many a prety tale,
And gaue her well of Watkins ale.
3. Good sir, quoth she, in smiling sort,
What doe you call this prety sport?
Or what is this you do to me?
Tis called Watkins ale, quoth he,
Wherein, faire mayd, you mayThus they sported and they playd,
This yong man and this prety mayd,
Vnder a banke whereas they lay,
Not long agoe this other day.
4. When he had done to her his will,
They talkt, but what it shall not skill;
At last, quoth she, sauing your tale,
Giue me some more of Watkins ale,
Or else I will not stay,Let vs talke a little while.
With that the mayd began to smile,
And saide, good sir, full well I know,
Your ale, I see, runs very low.
5. This yong man then, being so blamd,
Did blush as one being ashamde;
He tooke her by the midle small,
And gaue her more of Watkins ale;
And saide, faire maid, I pray,Farewell, mayden, then quoth he;
Adue, good sir, againe quoth she.
Thus they parted at last,
Till thrice three months were gone and past.
6. This mayden then fell very sicke,
Her maydenhead began to kicke,
Her colour waxed wan and pale
With taking much of Watkins ale.
I wish all maydens coy,New ale will make their bellies bowne,
As trial by this same is knowne;
This prouerbe hath bin taught in schools,--
It is no iesting with edge tooles.
7. Thrise scarcely changed hath the moon,
Since first this pretty tricke was done,
Which being harde of one by chance,
He made thereof a country dance;
And, as I heard the tale,To heare this merry iesting tale,
That which is called Watkins ale;
It is not long since it was made,--
The finest flower will soonest fade.
8. Good maydes and wiues, I pardon craue,
And lack not the which you would haue;
To blush it is a womans grace,
And well becometh a maidens face,
For women will refuseWhen you drinke ale beware the toast,
For therein lay the danger most.
If any heere offended be,
Then blame the author, blame not me.
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