A Shake in the Basket 

Traditional, arr. Calhoun, recorded on Telfer's Cows

(Keach in the Creel) Child #281  A Chaucerian farce. Tune is the one printed in Francis J Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads. 

A fair young maid went up the street 
Some sweetmeats for to buy; 
And a young clerk fell in love with her 
And followed her on the sly. 

"O, where live ye, my bonnie lass? 
i pray ye tell to me; 
and though the night were never so dark 
i'd come and visit thee!" 

"My father locks the door at night 
And my mother keeps the key; 
And though the night were ever so dark 
You couldn't get in to me." 

This clerk he had a true brother, 
And a good square-wright was he; 
And he has made a long ladder 
With thirty steps and three. 

He made a basket and a hook 
With a long rope and a pin; 
He's away to the chimney top 
To lower the young clerk in. 

The old wife, she lay wide awake 
Though late late was the hour; 
"I'll lay my life," said the silly old wife, 
"There's a man in our daughter's bower!" 

The old man he went down the stairs 
To see if it were true; 
She took the young clerk in her arms 
In under the coverlet blue. 

"O, what are you doing my daughter dear? 
O, what are you doing my doo?" 
"I'm prayin' on the bible here 
For my dear old mother and you." 

"O wife, O wife, you silly old wife, 
Cursed may you be! 
She's got the bible in her arms 
And she's praying for you and me." 

The old wife lying wide awake 
Heard something that was said 
"I'll lay my life," said the silly old wife 
"There's a man in our daughter's bed" 

"Get up, get up, my good old man 
And see if it be true." 
"Get up yourself, you silly old woman 
And may the devil take you." 

The old wife she went down the stairs 
To see if it be true; 
But she slipped on the rope and reeled about 
And into the basket she flew.

The man that was at the chimney-top 
Finding the basket full; 
He wrapped the rope his shoulder round 
And swiftly he did pull. 

"Get up, get up, my good old man 
O help me, husband do; 
For you wished me to the devil 
And I fear he's got me now." 

"Oh if the foul fiend's got you now 
I hope he'll hold you fast, 
For between you and your pious daughter 
I haven't had a wink of rest." 

The man at the top he gave a cry 
Then he let the basket fall;
While every rib in the old wife's side 
Went nick-nack on the wall. 

Here's to all a fond farewell, 
And a health to the lovers true; 
And may every old wife that wakes in the night 
Get a shake in the basket too.