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The first appearance in print (c.1729) of what became one of the most frequently encountered tunes of the eighteenth century. The tune appears to have been circulated orally before this first printing (although had it been known in 1728, it is inconceivable that Gay would not have used it in the "Beggar's Opera"). In early sources, the words of the first and last three verses are sometimes attributed to one "R---d Mr S---th, Chaplain to a man-of-war"; it does indeed seem that a scabrous ditty in the manner of Dean Swift formed an unholy alliance with a song guying racial and sexual stereotypes.

The spelling in this edition has been modernized, although the syntax and sentiments have not.

notAmos editions of the tune include appearances by Arne (Medley Overture), Clementi and Beethoven.

Lyrics: Anon

No mortal sure can blame a man
Who, prompted by nature will act as he can
With a black joke and belly so white.
For he the Platonist must gainsay
That will not human nature obey
In working a joke, as with lather and soap,
And the hair of her joke will draw more than a rope,
With a coal-black joke and a belly so white.

The first that came in was an English boy,
And then he began for to play and toy,
With her black joke and belly so white.
He was well versed in Venus' school,
Went on like a lion, came off like a fool
From her coal-black joke and her belly so white.

Then Shonup a Morgan from Hollyhead
Was stark staring mad for to go to bed,
To her black joke and belly so white.
His cruper her saddle did not fit,
So out of door she did him hit;
With her coal-black joke and her belly so white.

Then hastily came in a highland man,
His chanter and pipe both in his hand,
To her black joke and belly so white.
But his mainspring it was not strong,
For he could only flash in the pan
Of her coal-black joke and her belly so white.

A Frenchman oh then with ruffles and wig,
With her he began for to dance a jig
With her black joke and belly so white.
And when he felt what was under her smock
"Begar", said Monsieur, "'tis a fine merimot"
With a coal-black joke and a belly so white.

A rich Dutch skipper from Amsterdam,
He came with his gilt ready in his hand
To her black joke and belly so white.
He fancied himself very fit for the game;
She sent him to Holland all in a flame,
By her coal-black joke and her belly so white.

The good Irishman, he could not forbear
But if he must have a very good share
Of her black joke and belly so white.
"Madam", says he "for money I have none,
But I'll play a tune on the jigging bone
Of your coal-black joke and your belly so white".

The next came in, a brave grenadier,
And calls in for plenty of ale and beer
For her black joke and belly so white.
The cunning sly jade showed him a trick
And sent him away with fire in his stick
From her coal-black joke and her belly so white.

Traverse the globe and you'll find none
Who is not addicted and very much prone
To a black joke and belly so white.
The prince, the priest, the peasant do love it,
And all degrees of mankind do covet
A coal-black joke and a belly so white.

The rigid recluse, with his meagre face
From fasting and prayer, would quickly cease
For a black joke and belly so white.
Let the clergy cant and say what they will;
They stop the mouth and tickle the gill
Of a coal-black joke and a belly so white.

The bishop in his pontifical gown
Would tumble another Susanna down
For her black joke and belly so white.
The lawyer his client and cause would quit
To dip his pen in the bottomless pit
Of a coal-black joke and a belly so white.

Anon
(c.1729)

The Black Joke

(Song)

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