> Martin Carthy > Songs > Queen Caraboo
> Eliza Carthy > Songs > Queen Caraboo

Queen Caraboo

[John Mathew Gutch]

Young Caraboo is a parody, allegedly from the Bristol Mirror, printed in Irish newspaper reporter John Mathew Gutch's book Caraboo: A Narrative of a Singular Imposition, Practised upon the Benevolence of a Lady Residing in the Vicinity of the City of Bristol, by a Young Woman of the Name of Mary Willcocks, alias Baker, alias Bakerstendht, alias Caraboo, Princess of Javasu (1817, p. 64). Martin Carthy sang is as Queen Caraboo on his and Eliza Carthy's 2014 duo album, The Moral of the Elephant. He commented in their album's sleeve notes:

We have writer and broadcaster, the fine Quentin Cooper to thank for Queen Caraboo, a song about a splendid gipsy (I think) wind-up merchant who fetched up in the environs of Bristol sometime in the second half of the 18th Century and had everybody running around in circles, so delighted and so thrilled were they at what they saw as her most exotic behaviour. She must be (they said) a Princess at least, if not a queen.

The story has been made in 1994 into the British-American historical comedy-drama Princess Caraboo, co-written and directed by Michael Austin.

Lyrics

J.M. Gutch's Young Caraboo Martin Carthy sings Queen Caraboo

O young Caraboo is come out of the West
In frenchified tatters the damsel is drest;
But, save one pair of worsted, she stockings had none,
She walk'd half unshod, and she walk'd all alone;
Bot how to bamboozle the doxy well knew—
There never was a gipsey like young Caraboo.

Young Caraboo is come out of the West
In frenchified tatters this young girl is dressed;
But one pair of stockings and jackets she'd none,
She tramped half unshod, and she tramped all alone;
Bot how to bamboozle the doxy well knew—
You never heard of a gipsy like young Caraboo.

She staid not for brake, and she stopp'd not for stone,
She swam in the Avon where ford there was none;
But when she alighted at Worralby gate,
The Dame and the Doctor received her in state;
No longer a gipsey, the club of Bas-bleu
To a Princess converted the young Caraboo.

She stopped for no rivers, she stoppwd not for stone,
She swam in the Avon where ford there was none;
When that she alighted at Worral's front gate,
The Dame and the Doctor received her in state;
And no longer a gipsy, the club of Bas-bleu
To a Princess converted the young Caraboo.

So boldly she enter'd the Worralby Hall,
Amidst linguists, skull-feelers, blue stockings, and all;
Then spoke the sage doctor, profoundly absurd,
(But the sly Caraboo utter'd never a word)
“Art thou sprung from the Moon, or from far Javasu,
Or a Mermaid just landed, thou bright Caraboo?”

To these questions sagacious she answer denied—
Tho' hard was the struggle her laughter to hide—
“But, since they decree me these titles to fine,
I'll be silent, eat curry, and touch not their wine;
With this imposition I've nothing to do;
These are fools ready made”—thought the young Caraboo.

To all of their questions she answer denied—
Though hard did she struggle her laughter to hide—
“Since that they gave me these titles to fine,
I'll shut up, I'll eat curry, take none of their wine;
For with this imposition I've nothing to do;
These are ready made fools”, thought the young Caraboo.

She looked at a pigeon, the dame caught it up;
Caraboo had a mind on the pigeon to sup.
She look'd down to titter, she look'd up to sigh,
With the bird in her hand, and the spit in her eye,
She dress'd it, she ate it, she call'd it Rampoo—
“This proves,” swore the Doctor, “she's Queen Caraboo.”

She looked down at a pigeon, she took it right up;
Caraboo had a fancy of pigeon to sup.
She look'd down, she tittered, she look'd up to sigh,
With the bird in her hand, and the pan in her eye,
She dressed it, she ate it, she called it Rampoo—
“This proves it,” cried the Doctor, “she's Queen Caraboo.”