The Praise of a Dairy

Melody - Air "Packington's Pound"

Traditional, c. 1687

In praise of a dairy I purpose to sing,
But all things in order, first, God save the King!*
And the Queen, I may say,
That every May-day,
Has many fair dairy-maids all fine and gay.
Assist me, fair damsels, to finish my theme,
Inspiring my fancy with strawberry cream.

2. The first of fair dairy-maids, if you'll believe,
Was Adam's own wife, our great grandmother Eve,
Who oft milked a cow,
As well she knew how.
Though butter was not then as cheap as 'tis now,
She hoarded no butter nor cheese on her shelves,
For butter and cheese in those days made themselves.

3. In that age or time there was no horrid money,
Yet the children of Israel had both milk and honey;
No Queen you could see,
Of the highest degree,
But would milk the brown cow with the meanest she.
Their lambs gave them clothing, their cows gave them meat,
And in plenty and peace all their joys wore complete.

4. Amongst the rare virtues that milk does produce,
For a thousand of dainties it's daily in use:
Now a pudding I'll tell 'ee,
And so can maid Nelly,
Must have from good milk both the cream and the jelly:
For a dainty fine pudding, without cream or milk,
Is a citizen's wife, without satin or silk.

5. In the virtues of milk there is more to be mustered:
O! the charming delights both of cheesecake and custard!
For at Tottenham-court
You can have no sport,
Unless you give custards and cheesecake too for't:
And what's the jack-pudding that makes us to laugh,
Unless he hath got a great custard to quaff?

6. Both pancake and fritter of milk have good store,
But a Devonshire white-pot must needs have much more;
Of no brew you can think,
Though you study and wink,
From the lusty sack posset to poor posset drink,
But milk's the ingredient, though wine's** ne'er the worse,
For 'tis wine makes the man, though 'tis milk makes the nurse.

* For a Queen, insert the following two lines:

The praise of a dairy to tell you I mean,
But all things in order, first God save the Queen.

** No doubt the original word in these places was SACK, as in Chappell's copy - but what would a peasant understand by SACK?
Dryden's receipt for a sack posset is as follows:

From fair Barbadoes, on the western main,
Fetch sugar half-a-pound: fetch sack, from Spain,
A pint: then fetch, from India's fertile coast,
Nutmeg, the glory of the British toast.

| Song Index | Home Page |