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Big Poll the Grog Seller

[ Roud - ; Ballad Index AnSt085 ; Charles Thatcher (1831-1878)]

From Thatcher’s Colonial Minstrel (1864), published with the note:

A new parody of Philip the Falconer as written and sung by Thatcher at the Shamrock.

John Thompson sang Poll the Grogseller as the 9 November 2011 entry of his blog An Australian Folk Song a Day.

Danny Spooner sang Big Poll the Grog Seller on his 2013 CD Gorgeous, Game Girls. He commented:

This song is the work of ‘The Inimitable’, Charles Thatcher, bard of the Victorian and New Zealand goldfields during the 1850s and 60s. I got it, with many other songs and information, from scholar and folklorist Hugh Anderson. Alcohol was prohibited on the early goldfields; however, it was available, at a price, from cunning operators. Big Poll is an excellent example of a wide awake survivor.


Danny Spooner sings Big Poll the Grog Seller

Big Poll the grog seller gets up every day
And her small rowdy crib she sweeps out;
She’s turning in plenty of tin, people say,
For she knows what she’s about,
Aye yes, she knows what she’s about.

Well, Polly’s good-looking, and Polly is young,
Polly’s possessed of a smooth oily tongue;
She’s an innocent face and a good head of hair,
And a lot of young fellows will often go there.

And they keep dropping in, handsome Polly to court,
And Poll, she supplies them with brandy and port
And the neighbours all say that the whole blessed day,
She’s a-grog-selling late and early,
She is a-grog-selling late and early.

Two sly-grog detectives have come up from town,
And they both roam around in disguise;
And several retailers of grog are done brown,
And have reason to open their eyes,
And have reason to open their eyes.

Of her small rowdy crib they are soon on the scent;
But Polly’s prepared when they enter her tent;
They call for some brandy - “Oh, we don’t sell it here,
But,” says Poll, “I can give you some nice ginger beer.”

And she adds, “Do you see any green in my eye?
To your fine artful dodge and disguises I’m fly;
But if Polly you’d nail, you’d have, without fail,
To get up in the morning early.
Yes, if Polly you’d nail, you’d have, without fail,
To get up in the morning early.”