Anon
(1784)

Anon : The Trading Duchesses : illustration

The Trading Duchesses
(T.T.B. or S.S.A.)
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A political squib commenting on the alleged scandal of the soliciting of votes to the benefit of Charles James Fox in the 1784 Westminster election. (The scandal was, O tempora, O mores, not that as in modern times, the kisses would be recharged on expenses, flipped, or dispensed in excess of statutory limits, but rather that they were GIVEN FREELY)

Contemporaries would have recognised the piece's origin; it parodies very closely Ravenscroft's glee "We be three poor mariners". Originally published in 1609, Ravenscroft's pieces were frequently quarried to provide popular material for theatrical entertainments in the 1780s and 1790s. T.T.B. is the voicing of both the original glee and its imitator.
Lyrics: Anon

We be three gay* duchesses
newly come 'pon town,
We spend our days in canvassing
Westminster up and down.
Shall we go dance the round?
And he that is for Charlie boy,**
come kiss us on this ground.

We care not for those courtier men
that do our cause disdain,
But we care for those butcher men***
that do our cause maintain.
To them we dance this round.
And he that is for Charlie boy,**
come kiss us on this ground.

* Light-hearted. Not an anachronous term from Polari.
** Charles James Fox (1749 - 1806)
*** Artisan meat traders. Not an anachronous term from Polari.