Down By the Dark Arches

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Sexual encounter with a female ballad singer under the railway arches. Ends with a pimp figure beating and robbing the hero.

[090Notation]

As I walked out one day in the month of July
A pretty young damsel I chanced for to spy,
Singing Vilikens and Dinah, so blithe and so gay, [Note 090.1]
Down by the dark arches under the railway.[Note 090.2]

Then I stepped up to her so gay and so free,
And for the same ballad I paid one halfpenny, [Note 090.3]
Will you be my sweetheart to her I did say?
Down by the dark arches under the railway.

Oh no, my gay young man that cannot be,
There is a chap here in blue and he is a-watching of me, [Note 090.4]
And if he should see me, what would he say,
Down by the dark arches under the railway.

At last she consented, away we both went,
Five shillings in lobsters and oysters I spent, [Note 090.5]
Six drops of brandy for her I did pay,
Down by the dark arches under the railway.

Then in came a chap with a black eye and a stick,
He drunk up my brandy and broke my Pickwick(1)
Pop goes the weasel to me he did say, [Note 090.6]
Down by the dark arches under the railway.

Then he squared up to me and pulled my watch out,
He spoiled my new beaver¹ and damaged my snout,
He kicked me in the gutter and there I lay,
Down by the dark arches under the railway

I lay in the gutter till four in the morn
As naked as ever a poor creature was born,
And when I awakened quite still there I lay,
Down by the dark arches under the railway.

Four bobbies(1) came up and to my surprise
I found I had no shirt on to cover my thighs, [Note 090.7]
They put me on a stretcher and bore me away
From beneath the dark arches under the railway.

I sent to my mother for money and clothes,
Likewise to a doctor to patch up my nose,
You have not had fair play to me he did say
Down by the dark arches under the railway

Now all you young chaps take a warning by me,
And never go a-courting when you are on the spree(1),
And never take those young ladies out of their way
Down by the dark arches under the railway.

 

 

Sources (texts, music) & Publishing data

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Source Title Down By the Dark Arches
Bargery Number 090
Roud 1442
Earliest Date 1836
Evidence for Earliest Date Opeining of the London and Greenwich Railway. The first railway in London. It had an extensive series of arches at its approach to the London Bridge terminal.
Source of Text Bodleian Library, Harding B 17(955)
Author Anonymous
Music (Given or Suggested) The broadside down By the Dark Arches Near the Adelphi [Bodleian Library Harding B 11(1645)] gives the air as Green Bushes
Source of Music https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Bushes
Music Notation The words have been fitted to the music by means of inserting hyphens into the text rather than by amending the source notation with ties and slurs.
First Line As I walked out one day in the month of July
Parsed Title Down By the Dark Arches
Variant Set This is a variant of Down By The Dark Arches Under the Adelphi (Roud 3457) which is probably an older song
DATA for: Down By the Dark Arches

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