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THE MERCHANT AND THE FIDLER'S WIFE, by                    
First Line: It was a rich merchant man
Last Line: They are ever free and common
Subject(s): Unfaithfulness; Infidelity;adultery;inconstancy

It was a Rich Merchant Man
That had both Ship and all;
And he would cross the salt Seas
Tho' his cunning it was but small.
The Fidler and his Wife,
They being nigh at hand,
Would needs go sail along with him
From Dover unto Scotland.
The Fidler's Wife look'd brisk,
Which made the Merchant smile;
He made no doubt to bring it about
The Fidler to beguile.
Is this thy Wife, the Merchant said,
She looks like an honest Spouse;
Ay that she is, the Fidler said,
That ever trod on Shoes.
They Confidence is very great,
The Merchant then did say;
If thou a Wager darest to bet
I'll tell thee what I will lay.
I'll lay my Ship against thy Fiddle,
And all my Venture too,
So Peggy may gang along with me
My Cabin for to View.
If she continues one Hour with me
Thy true and constant Wife,
Then shalt thou have my Ship and be
A Merchant all thy Life.
The Fidler was content,
He Danc'd and Leap'd for joy;
And twang'd his Fiddle in merriment,
For Peggy he thought was Coy.
Then Peggy she went along
His Cabin for to View,
And after her the Merchant-Man
Did follow, we found it true.
When they were once together
The Fidler was afraid;
For he crep'd near in pitious fear,
And thus to Peggy he said:
Hold out, sweet Peggy, hold out,
For the space of two half Hours;
If thou hold out, I make no doubt
But the Ship and Goods are ours.
In troth, sweet Robin, I cannot,
He hath got me about the Middle;
He's lusty and strong and hath laid me along --
O Robin, thou'st lost thy Fiddle.
If I have lost my Fiddle
Then am I a Man undone;
My Fiddle whereon I so often play'd --
Away I needs must run.
O stay, the Merchant said,
And thou shalt keep thy place;
And thou shalt have thy Fiddle again
But Peggy shall carry the Case.
Poor Robin, hearing that,
He look'd with a Merry-chear;
His wife she was pleas'd, and the Merchant was eas'd,
And jolly and brisk they were.
The Fidler he was mad,
But valu'd it not a Fig;
Then Peggy unto her Husband said,
Kind Robin, play us a Jigg.
Then he took up his Fiddle,
And merrily he did play
The Scottish Jigg and the Horn pipe
And eke the Irish Hey.
It was but in vain to grieve,
The Deed it was done and past;
Poor Robin was born to carry the Horn
For Peggy could not be Chast.
Then Fidlers all beware,
Your Wives are kind you see;
And he that's made for the Fidling Trade
Must never a Merchant be.
For Peggy she knew right well,
Although she was but a Woman,
That Gamesters Drink, and Fidlers Wives
They are ever Free and Common.

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