> Silly Sisters > Songs > Cakes and Ale

Cakes and Ale

[ Roud - ; Ballad Index SESC018 ; Henry Purcell]

Cakes and Ale is a catch by Henry Purcell (Z 256, 1690). Maddy Prior and June Tabor sang it a cappella on their second Silly Sisters album, No More to the Dance. This track was also included in 1990 on June Tabor's anthology Aspects.

Sound Tradition sang Cakes and Ale in 2012 on their CD Under the Moon. They commented in their liner notes:

This is a rather naughty catch which dates from around 1690. It's a cleverly written English drinking song that is fun to sing and uses the word “merry” a lot which can be quite a rarity in folk music. An early use of the title phrase appears in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (1602) when a drunken Sir Toby Belch taunts the pious steward Malvolio: “Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?” So, somewhere between bread and circuses and bear and skittles as a neat summary of the good life.

Lyrics

I gave her Cakes, I gave her Ale,
I gave her Sack and Sherry;
I kist her once, I kist her twice,
And we were wondrous merry!

I gave her Beads and Bracelets fine,
I gave her Gold down derry.
I thougt she was afear'd till she stroked my Beard
And we were wondrous merry!

Merry my Heart, merry my Cocks,
Merry my Spright.
Merry my hey down derry.
I kist her once and I kist her twice,
And we were wondrous merry!

Source: Brandy Purdy, The Tudor Throne

Silly Sisters sing Cakes and Ale

I gave her cakes and I gave her ale,
And I gave her sack and sherry;
I kissed her once and I kissed her twice,
And we were wondrous merry!

I gave her beads and bracelets fine,
And I gave her gold, down derry.
I thought she was afear'd till she stroked my beard
And we were wondrous merry!

Merry my heart, merry my cocks, merry my sprights,
Merry, merry, merry, merry, merry, my hey down derry.
I kissed her once and I kissed her twice,
And we were wondrous merry!