The Trading duchesses (Anonymous)

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  • (Posted 2019-08-11)  CPDL #55029:  Network.png
Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2019-08-11).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 56 kB   Copyright: CC BY SA
Edition notes: Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.

General Information

Title: The Trading duchesses
Composer: Anonymous

Number of voices: 3vv   Voicings: TTB and SSA
Genre: SecularGlee

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1784
Description: A political squib commenting on the alleged scandal of the soliciting of votes to the benefit of Charles James Fox in the 1784 Westminster election. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and others were alleged to have given kisses to electors (of all social classes) in return for their votes. Contemporaries would have recognised the piece's origin; it parodies very closely Ravenscroft's glee We be three poor mariners. Originally published in 1609, Ravenscroft's pieces were frequently quarried to provide popular material for theatrical entertainments in the 1780s and 1790s.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

We be three gay+ duchesses
newly come 'pon town,
We spend our days in canvassing
Westminster up and down.
Shall we go dance the round?
And he that is for Charlie boy,++
come kiss us on this ground.

We care not for those courtier men
that do our cause disdain,
But we care for those butcher men+++
that do our cause maintain.
To them we dance this round.
And he that is for Charlie boy,++
come kiss us on this ground.

+ Light-hearted. Not an anachronous term from Polari.
++ Charles James Fox (1749 - 1806)
+++ Artisan meat traders. Not an anachronous term from Polari.