Music Midi CD - Time & Tide
Ratcliffe Highway

Words: traditional
Music: traditional

As I was a-walking through London
To Wapping down Ratcliffe Highway
Now I chanced to pop into a gin shop
To spend a long night and the day.

A young doxy came rolling up to me
She asked if I'd money to sport
For a bottle of wine gave a guinea
She quickly replied: "That's the sort".

When the bottle was put on the table
There were glasses for everyone
When I asked for the change of my guinea
She tipped me a verse of her song.

Yes, this lady flew into a passion.
She placed both her hands and her hips
Saying: "Young man don't you know our fashion?
Do you think you're on board of your ship?"

If this is your fashion to rob me
Such a fashion I'll never abide
So, you'll launch out the change of my guinea
Or else I'll give you a broadside.

And a gold watch it hang from the mantle
So for change of my guinea I did take
Oh, then down the old stairs I run nimbly
Saying: "Darn my old boots, I'm well paid".

And the night being dark in my favour,
To the river I quickly did creep
And I boarded a boat bound for Deptford
And got safe aboard of my ship.

So, come all you young lads and sailors
That rambles down Ratcliffe Highway
If you chance to pop into a gin shop
Beware lads how long you do stay.

For the ales, strong liquors invite you
They'll put all your mind in a range
If a guinea you give for a bottle
You can go to the Devil for your change.

"Ratcliffe Highway" - To redress the balance with "White Copper Alley" Jack here gets the better of the day and warns fellow seamen of the perils of the "Highway". Anyone interested can find out more about the area in Stan Hugill's book "Sailortown".
I. W.
There is another song about this famous London street which also exist in Cztery Refy's repertoir. Although music as well as words are different the title of this song is "Ratcliffe Highway", too. Here you can find it in Polish version.

Music Midi CD - Time & Tide