The water doctor (Anonymous)

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  • (Posted 2013-05-13)  CPDL #29123:  Network.png
Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2013-05-13).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 76 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: This edition comprises a modern realisation, and a statement of the piece in its original specialized format. Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.

General Information

Title: The water doctor
Composer: Anonymous
Lyricist: Anonymous , probably the composer

Number of voices: 3vv   Voicing: TTT
Genre: SecularGlee

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published:
Description: Published without attribution in Warren's twenty-sixth collection of glees and catches.

This is one of those catches that is more lubricious in performance than the anodyne lyrics might suggest. It illustrates a brief but interesting period in social history: when purveyors of folk remedies (water doctors and cunning men) were accorded respect; when inoculation was still a folk remedy, yet to be established as an efficacious technique by Jenner; when the introduction of an item of armour was widely (but erroneously) credited to a specific personage; and when that innovator's name would, amongst the ton, be pronounced as "the Duke of Cundum".

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

"O great and learned doctor, to you from far I'm come,
To bring my daughter's water; Alas, poor girl, she's dumb."

"Oh ho, is she so? I'll soon prescribe a charm;
The girl must have a prick, sir, in the arm."

"I humbly thank your honour, she'll not dislike the plan.
Oh, what should we have done without a cunning man?"