Joan's Ale Was New

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Melody -
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Traditional ballad, bottom version is the oldest?

There were six jovial tradesmen,
And they all sat down to drinking,
For they were a jovial crew;
They sat themselves down to be merry;
And they called for a bottle of sherry,
You're welcome as the hills, says Nolly,
While Joan's ale is new, brave boys,
While Joan's ale is new.

2. The first that came in was a soldier,
With his firelock over his shoulder,
Sure no one could be bolder,
And a long broad-sword he drew:
He swore he would fight for England's ground,
Before the nation should be run down;
He boldly drank their healths all round,
While Joan's ale was new.

3. The next that came in was a hatter,
Sure no one could be blacker,
And he began to chatter,
Among the jovial crew:
He threw his hat upon the ground,
And swore every man should spend his pound,
And boldly drank their hearths all round,
While Joan's ale was new.

4. The next that came in was a dyer,
And he sat himself down by the fire,
For it was his heart's desire
To drink with the jovial crew:
He told the landlord to his face,
The chimney-corner should be his place,
And there he'd sit and dye his face,
While Joan's ale was new.

5. The next that came in was a tinker,
And he was no small beer drinker,
And he was no strong ale shrinker,
Among the jovial crew:
For his brass nails were made of metal,
And he swore he'd go and mend a kettle,
Good heart, how his hammer and nails did rattle,
When Joan's ale was new!

6. The next that came in was a tailor,
With his bodkin, shears, and thimble,
He swore he would be nimble
Among the jovial crew:
They sat and they called for ale so stout,
Till the poor tailor was almost broke,
And was forced to go and pawn his coat,
While Joan's ale was new.

7. The next that came in was a ragman,
With his rag-bag over his shoulder,
Sure no one could be bolder
Among the jovial crew.
They sat and called for pots and glasses,
Till they were all drunk as asses,
And burnt the old ragman's bag to ashes,
While Joan's ale was new.

Come all you honest labouring men,
And Join with me at the Barley Mow
To pass an hour away,
Where we can sing and drink and be merry,
And drive away our cares and worry,
When Jones’s ale was new me boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

2. The first to come in was the Ploughman
With sweat all on his brow,
Up with the lark at the break of day
He guides the speedy plough,
He drive his team, how the do toil,
O’er hill and valley to turn the soil,
When Jones’s ale was new me boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

3. The next to come in was the Blacksmith,
His brawny arms all bare,
And, with his pint of Jones’s Ale,
He has no fears or care,
Throughout the day his hammer he’s swinging,
And he sings when he hears the anvil ringing,
When Jones’s ale was new me boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

4. The next to come in was the Scytheman,
So cheerful and so brown,
And with rhythm of his scythe
The corn he does mow down,
He works, he mows, he sweats and blows,
And leaves his swathes laying all in rows,
When Jones’s ale was new me boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

5. The next to come in was the tinker
And he was no small beer drinker,
And he was no small beer drinker
To join the jovial crew,
He told the old woman he’d mend her kettle,
Good Lord how his hammer and tongs did rattle,
When Jones’s ale was new me boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

6. Now here is Jones our Landlord
A jovial man is he,
Likewise his wife a buxom lass
Who joins in harmony,
We wish them happiness and good will,
While our pots and glasses the do fill,
When Jones’s ale was new me boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

There was a jovial tinker
Which was a good ale drinker,
He never was a shrinker
Believe me this is true,
And he came from the Weald of Kent
When all he money was gone and spent,
Which made him look like a Jack-a-Lent,
And Joan's Ale is new!
Chorus:
And Joan's ale is new, my boys,
And Joan's ale is new.

2. The Tinker he did settle
Most like a man of mettle,
And vow'd to pawn his kettle,
Now mark what did ensue,
His neighbours they flock'd in apace
To see Tom Tinker's comely face,
Where they drank soundly for a space,
' Whilst Joan's ale was new.
Chorus:

3. The Cobbler and the Broom-Man
Came next into the room, man,
And said they'd drink for boon, man
Let each one take his due,
But when the liquour good they found
They cast their caps upon the ground
And so they tinker he drank 'round
Whilst Joan's ale was new.
Chorus:

4. The Rag-Man being weary
With the burden he did carry
He swore he would be merry
' And spend a shilling or two.
He told his hostess to her face
The chimney-corner was his place
And he began to drink apace
Whilst Joan's ale was new.
Chorus:

5. The Pedlar he drew nigher
For it was his desire,
To throw the rags i' th' fire
And blue the bundle blue;
So whilst they drank whole flashes,
And threw about the glasses,
The rags were burned to ashes,
And Joan's ale was new.
Chorus:

6. And then came in the Hatter
To see what was the matter,
He scorn'd to drink cold water,
Amongst the jovial crew;
And like a man of courage stout
He took the quart-pot by the snout,
And never left till all was out;
O Joan's ale was new.
Chorus:

7. Then came a pitiful Porter
Which often did resort there
Quoth he I'll show some sport here
Amongst the jovial crew
The Porter he had very bad luck
Before that it was ten o'clock
The fool got drunk and lost his frock
For Joan's and was new.
Chorus:

8. And then came in the Weaver
You never saw a braver
With the Silk Man and the Glover,
Tom Tinker for to view
And so to welcome him to town,
They every man spent half a crown
And so the drink went merrily down,
For Joan's ale was new.
Chorus:

9. Then came a drunken Dutchman
And he would have a touch man,
But he soon took too much, man,
Which made him after rue;
He drank so long as I suppose
Till greasy drops came from his nose,
And like a beast befoul'd his hose,
Whilst Joan's ale was new.
Chorus:

10. Thus like to men of courage stout,
Courageously they drank about
Till such time all the ale was out,
As I may tell to you
And when the business was done,
They every man departed home
And promised Joan again to come
When she had brewed anew.
Chorus:
When she had brewed anew, my boys,
When she had brewed anew.


From the names of Nolly and Joan and the allusion to ale, we are inclined to consider the song as a lampoon levelled at Cromwell, and his wife, whom the Royalist party nick-named 'Joan.' The Protector's acquaintances (depicted as low and vulgar tradesmen) are here humorously represented paying him a congratulatory visit on his change of fortune, and regaling themselves with the 'Brewer's' ale.

The second version of the song is from the singing of the Copper family of Rottingdean in Sussex. In his book " A Song For All Seasons" Bob Copper describes how this, and many other songs, would be sung by farm labourer on, what was called in Sussex, "Hollering Pot" night or "Last Load" when the harvest had been gathered and safely stored. - with thanks to Dave Earl.

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