When My Dimber Dell I Courted

When My Dimber Dell I Courted
From The New Canting Dictionary.


  When my dimber dell I courted 1 pretty wench
  She had youth and beauty too,
  Wanton joys my heart transported,
  And her wap was ever new. 2 Notes
  But conquering time doth now deceive her,
  Which her pleasures did uphold;
  All her wapping now must leave her,
  For, alas! my dell’s grown old.


  Her wanton motions which invited,
  Now, alas! no longer charm,
  Her glaziers too are quite benighted, 3 eyes
  Nor can any prig-star charm.
  For conquering time, alas! deceives her
  Which her triumphs did uphold,
  And every moving beauty leaves her
  Alas! my dimber dell’s grown old.


  There was a time no cull could toute her, 4 man; look at
  But was sure to be undone:
  Nor could th’ uprightman live without her, 5 Notes
  She triumph’d over every one.
  But conquering time does now deceive her,
  Which her sporting us’d t’ uphold,
  All her am’rous dambers leave her,
  For, alas! the dell’s grown old.


  All thy comfort, dimber dell,
  Is, now, since thou hast lost thy prime,
  That every cull can witness well,
  Thou hast not misus’d thy time.
  There’s not a prig or palliard living,
  Who has not been thy slave inroll’d.
  Then cheer thy mind, and cease thy grieving;
  Thou’st had thy time, tho’ now grown old.


See Note to “The Canter’s Serenade.” The first two stanzas appear in a somewhat different form as “a new song” to the time of Beauty’s Ruin in The Triumph of Wit (1707), of which the first stanza is as follows:—

   When Dorinda first I courted,

     She had charms and beauty too;

   Conquering pleasures when she sported,

     The transport it was ever new:

   But wastful time do’s now deceive her,

     Which her glories did uphold;

   All her arts can ne’er relieve her,

     Poor Dorinda is grown old.

Stanza I, line 4. Wap = the act of kind. Dimber dell =

pretty wench—“A dell is a yonge wenche, able for generation, and not yet knowen or broken by the upright man ... when they have beene lyen with all by the upright man then they be Doxes, and no Dells.”— (HARMAN).

Stanza III, line 3. Upright-men—“the second rank of the Canting tribes, having sole right to the first night’s lodging with the Dells.”—(B. E., Dict. Cant. Crew, 1696).

Taken from Musa Pedestris, Three Centuries of Canting Songs and Slang Rhymes [1536―1896], collected and annotated by John S. Farmer.

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. . .
A Mort’s Drinking Song
A Beggar I’ll Be
A Budg And Snudg Song
The Maunder’s Praise Of His Strowling Mort
The Rum-Mort’s Praise Of Her Faithless Maunder
The Black Procession
Frisky Moll’s Song
The Canter’s Serenade
Retoure My Dear Dell
The Vain Dreamer
When My Dimber Dell I Courted
The Oath Of The Canting Crew
Come All You Buffers Gay
The Potato Man
A Slang Pastoral
Ye Scamps, Ye Pads, Ye Divers
The Sandman’s Wedding
The Happy Pair
The Bunter’s Christening
The Masqueraders
The Flash Man of St. Giles
. . .