The Greenside Wakes Song

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Melody -
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Traditional ballad

'Tis Greenside wakes, we've come to the town
To show you some sport of great renown;
And if my old wife will let me begin,
I'll show you how fast and how well I can spin.
Tread the wheel, tread the wheel, den, don, dell O.

2. Thou brags of thyself, but I don't think it true,
For I will uphold thy faults are not a few;
For when thou hast done, and spun very hard,
Of this I'm well sure, thy work is ill marred.
Tread the wheel, tread the wheel, den, don, dell O.

3. Thou'rt a saucy old jade, and pray hold thy tongue,
Or I shall be thumping thee ere it be long;
And if that I do, I shall make thee to rue,
For I can have many a one as good as you.
Tread the wheel, tread the wheel, dan, don, dell O.

4. What is it to me who you can have?
I shall not be long ere I'm laid in my grave;
And when I am dead you may find if you can,
One that'll spin as hard as I've done.
Tread the wheel, tread the wheel, dan, don, dell O.

5. Come, come, my dear wife, here endeth my song,
I hope it has pleased this numerous throng;
But if it has missed, you need not to fear,
We'll do our endeavour to please them next year.
Tread the wheel, tread the wheel, dan, don, dell O.


The wakes, feasts, or tides of the North of England, were originally religious festivals in honour of the saints to whom the parish churches were dedicated. But now-a-days, even in Catholic Lancashire, all traces of their pristine character have departed, and the hymns and prayers by which their observance was once hallowed have given place to dancing and merry-making. At Greenside, near Manchester, during the wakes, two persons, dressed in a grotesque manner, the one a male, the other a female, appear in the village on horseback, with spinning-wheels before them; and this is the song which they sing on these occasions.

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