Ratcliffe Highway


As I was a-walking down London
From Wapping to Ratcliffe Highway
I chanced to pop into a gin-shop
To spend a long night and a day

A young doxy came rolling up to me
And asked if I’d money to sport
For a bottle of wine changed a guinea
And she quickly replied: ‘That’s the sort’

When the bottle was put on the table
There was glasses for everyone
When I asked for the change of my guinea
She tipped me a verse of her song

This lady flew into a passion
And placed both her hands on her hip
Saying: ‘Sailor, don’t you know our fashion?
Do you think you’re on board of your ship?’

‘If this is your fashion to rob me
Such a fashion I’ll never abide
So launch out the change of my guinea
Or else I’ll give you a broadside’

A gold watch hung over the mantel
So the change of my guinea I take
And down the stairs I run nimbly
Saying: ‘Darn my old boots, I’m well paid’

The night being dark in my favour
To the river I quickly did creep
And I jumped in a boat bound for Deptford
And got safe aboard of my ship

So come all you bold young sailors
That ramble down Ratcliffe Highway
If you chance to pop into a gin-shop
Beware, lads, how long you do stay

For the songs and the liquors invite you
And your heart will be all in a rage
If you give them a guinea for a bottle
You can go to the devil for change