Three Jolly Coachmen

Here’s a grand old song that was first brought into the band by Paul, and now Joseph handles it.  Originally it was known as “The Jolly Fellow”, or also as “Come, Landlord, Fill the Flowing Bowl” and some variants.  It is said that the song appears in the c. 1617/1639 play “The Bloody Brother” by John Fletcher, although I have not spied it in my 1718 edition. There are some 18th century references to the song, some of which claim it as a leftover from the previous century, while many other sources pin it as a sort of product of 19th century revival of an older style song… When I get around to it, I’ll dig those out and see if I can present something more specific.

There are variations one might encounter at historical reenactments and the several types of renaissance fairs that dot the landscape in season.  The version below is how we present it, and a bit more upbeat than I imagine would have been sung in earlier times!

 

|: Three jolly coachmen sat in an Essex tavern :|  (or whatever town you wish)
And they decided,
and they decided, and they decided…
To have another flagon

OH, ho, ho! (Ah, hah, hah!) (And a couple of la dee dahs)

|: Landlord fill the flowing bowl until it does run over :|
For tonight we’ll be merry,
tonight we’ll be merry, tonight we’ll be merry…
Tomorrow we’ll be sober.

OH, ho, ho! (Ah, hah…)

|: Here’s to the man who drinks small beer and goes to bed quite sober :|
He falls as the leaves do fall,
falls as the leaves do fall, falls as the leaves do fall…
He’ll die before October.

OH, ho, ho! (Ah, hah…)

|: But here’s to the man who drinks strong ale and goes to bed quite mellow :|
He lives as he ought to live,
lives as he ought to live, lives as he ought to live…
For Cliff’s a jolly good fellow.

OH, ho ho! (Ah, hah…)

|: Here’s to the maid who steals a kiss but runs to tell her mother :|
She’s a foolish foolish thing, she’s a foolish foolish thing, she’s a foolish foolish thing
For she’ll not get another.

OH, ho, ho! (Ah, hah…)

|: Here’s to the maid who steals a kiss and stays to steal another! :|
She’s a boon to all mankind, she’s a boon to all mankind, she’s a boon to all mankind
For she’ll soon be a mother.

Oh, ho, ho! (Ah, hah…)

*|: If I had another brick I’d build my chimney higher :|
It would keep my neighbour’s cat, it would keep my neighbour’s cat, it would…
From pissing on my fire!
OH, ho ho! (Ah, hah…)

*|: Come out to the garden, Mary, don’t be so particular :|
If the ground is cold and damp, If the ground is cold and damp, If the…
We’ll do it perpendicular!
OH, ho, ho! (Ah! Hah…)


|: Landlord fill the flowing bowl until it does run over :|
For tonight we’ll do Mary,
tonight we’ll do Mary, tonight we’ll do Mary…
And tomorrow we’ll do her sister!

OH, ho, ho! (Ah, hah…)

* a couple of “new” verses handed to me by a friend rather recently.

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