112  Rebellion given over House-keeping:/ OR,/ A General Sale of Rebellious Houshould stuff [Pepys 2.209]

Author: Anonymous

Recording: Rebellion given over House-keeping

Bodies - clothing Economy - household Employment - crafts/trades History - recent Humour - extreme situations/surprises Humour - mockery Humour - satire Humour - verbal Politics - Civil War/Interregnum Politics - Popish Plot/Exclusion Crisis Politics - Royalist Politics - Tories/Whigs Politics - celebration Politics - controversy Politics - domestic Politics - parliament Politics - plots Politics - satire Recreation - food Recreation - music Religion - protestant nonconformity Royalty - praise recreation - tobacco

Song History

The first edition of this ballad was published in white-letter format by Alexander Banks in 1682, under the title A General Sale of Rebellious Houshold-stuff. Our featured black-letter version was published by the Ballad Partnership soon after Bank's version came out.

Historical Context

Rebellion Given over House-Keeping was published in the aftermath of the king's dismissal, after only a week, of the third and final Exclusion parliament, held in Oxford in March 1681. The king's sudden action struck a fatal blow to the Whig campaign to exclude the king's Catholic brother, James, duke of York, from succeeding to the throne. A long period of ‘Tory Reaction’ followed: prominent Whigs were arrested, some were tried for treason, and one, Stephen Colledge, was executed for his performance of a seditious ballad entitled The Ra-ree Show. The legal reaction was accompanied by a torrent of triumphant pro-Tory publication, much of which argued (not unjustifiably) that the Whigs' real aim had been to begin a new civil war.

The aim of Allen Banks' publication of A General Sale of Rebellious Houshould-Stuff was to link the Exclusion Parliament’s fate to that of Cromwell's dismissal of the ‘Rump' parliament’ in 1653. It drew its inspiration from a notorious notice that had been set on the House of Commons door at the time, which stated: 'This House is to be let, now unfurnished'. A General Sale was a satirical imagining of the furnishings available for sale after the old Rump's dismissal (incidentally, furnishings were often sold off by officials when parliaments were dismissed, so this aspect of the song was not at all far-fetched).

Banks’ white-letter song was a huge and long-lasting success, running into at least seven editions between 1682 and 1712. Indeed, it was so well known, that a Whig parody appeared in 1690. Given its commercial success and the song’s high quality, the Ballad Partners brought out an illustrated black-letter version (our featured edition), lengthened by two verses to fill the sheet, and entitled Rebellion Given over House-Keeping. The recycled woodcut depicted rumps of meat being sold in a shop. This augmented the historical account by reminding readers of the final ousting of the 'Rump' parliament in advance of the Restoration, which was celebrated with bonfires and the roasting of rumps in the streets (see also Featured Woodcut History).

Angela McShane


Jane Wessel, ‘Performing “A Ra-ree Show” : Political Spectacle and the Treason Trial of Stephen College’, Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700, 38.1 (2014) 3-17.

Angela McShane, The Ballad Trade and Its Politics in Seventeenth Century Britain (Woodbridge, forthcoming), ch. 1 (argues that Philip Brooksby probably reworked the ballad and sold the title to the Partners).

Robin Eagles, 'Spending a penny in the old palace of Westminster', History of Parliament Blog  https://thehistoryofparliament.wordpress.com/2022/12/01/spending-a-penny-in-the-old-palace-of-westminster/

Adam Morton,Intensive Ephemera: The Catholic Gamesters and the Visual Culture of News in Restoration London’, in S. Davies and Puck Fletcher, News in Early Modern Europe (Leiden, 2014), pp. 115-141

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Featured Tune History

To the tune of ‘Old Simon the King’ (standard name)

The purpose of this section is to provide brief notes on the melody followed by detailed evidence relating to  its ballad career, paying particular attention to the ‘echoes’ (inter-song associations and connections) that may have been set up if it was nominated for the singing of more than one ballad. In the list presented in the ‘Songs and Summaries’ section below, we have endeavoured to include as many of the black-letter ballads that used the tune as possible, under any of its variant names. Titles from our chart of best-sellers are presented in bold type (these are also in colour when there is a link to the relevant ballad page on the website). It should be noted that it is extremely difficult to date many ballads precisely and the chronological order in which the songs are listed is therefore very approximate (we have drawn on previous attempts to date the ballads, making adjustments when additional evidence can be brought into play).  In most cases, we list the earliest surviving edition of a ballad, though in many instances there may have been earlier versions, now lost.

Versions and variations

This tune had several different names, alongside ‘Old Simon the King’. It was also known as ‘Ragged and torn [and true]’, ‘O such a rogue [would be hang’d]’, ‘Ile nere be drunk againe’, ‘When this old cap was new’, ‘The character of sundry trades and callings’ and, probably, ‘All trades’. Most of these derived from the texts of the ballads listed below.

The melody was extremely well-known in seventeenth-century England and notation can be found in numerous sources. The earliest and most singable is in Playford’s Musicks Recreation on the Lyra Viol (1652). Later versions are a little more complicated; perhaps the tune was so famous that nobody felt the need to state it in its most basic form, preferring to get straight on with the business of elaboration. A good example of this can be found in The Division Violin (1685), published again by Playford, where the variations or ‘divisions’ seem to begin almost from the start. Our recording draws on both these versions of the tune.

Others can be found in the following sources: Playford’s Dancing Master (in the editions that appeared after 1679); Humphrey Salter’s Genteel Companion… for the Recorder (1683); Nathaniel Thompson’s Choice Collection of 180 Loyal Songs (1685); Apollo’s Banquet (1693); and a white-letter ballad of 1683 entitled The WHIGS laid open and set ‘To a Mery Tune, called Old Symon the King’ (EBBA 34923).

Versions of the melody, with new adjustments, also appear in numerous eighteenth-century sources, including the celebrated song collection, Wit and Mirth, and the equally famous Beggar’s Opera by John Gay. When Henry Fielding published Tom Jones in 1749, he described Squire Western as a character who ‘never relished any Music but what was light and airy; and indeed his most favourite Tunes, were Old Sir Simon the King, St. George he was for England, Bobbing Joan, and some others’.

Echoes (an overview)

This lively tune was extremely popular throughout the seventeenth century and was nominated, under one or more of its various titles, on over twenty-five surviving black-letter ballads. Its earliest associations were with a highly traditional brand of social conservatism involving some combination of nostalgia, attachment to hierarchy, celebration of historical pastimes, and criticism of those who failed to live by the long-established rules that were supposed to hold society together (see, for example: Ragged and Torne, and True; Times Alteration; The praise of our Country Barly-Brake; and Knavery in all Trades).

From the 1660s, the melody’s reputation also suited it to Royalist ballads that celebrated the Restoration and mocked the enemies of the crown (A Merry new song wherein you may view/ The drinking Healths of a Ioviall Crew and Rebellion given over House-keeping).

The tune’s conservative associations were therefore extremely strong, but alongside them a second area of influence developed. Many of the songs listed below deal with gender relations, particularly courtship, marriage and sex. These include ballads about romantic happiness (A New Wedding), ballads about troubled marriages (Joy and sorrow mixt together) and ballads in which courtship advice is offered to men or women (The Young Mans Counsellor and Directions for Damosels). There is often humour in these songs, most obviously in those with titles such as The Lusty Friar of Dublin or The Doting Old DAD, OR, The Unequal Match betwixt a Rich Muckworm of Fourscore and Ten, and a Young Lass scarce Nineteen.

It seems certain that the melody’s two main resonances must also have interacted, perhaps adding a traditionalist vibe to the courtship songs or somewhat sexy undertones to the ballads expressing social or political conservatism.

The only obvious outlier in the list below was The Wonder of Wonders: OR, An Excellent SONG of a Six-Legged Creature, a riddling song about the flea (and perhaps there is a nod towards one of the tune’s main associations in the line, ‘she’s known to be loving by Nature’).

The songs are connected not only by tune and theme but also through a number of close textual affinities. Rebellion given over House-keeping, for example, lifts the key refrain line, ‘Says Old Simon the King’, from an earlier song that has not survived in broadside form (see ‘Postscript’, below). In Ragged, and Torne, and True and Times Alteration, some of the chosen rhymes, set to the same portion of the tune, echo one another:

‘O fie on those coozening scabs,/ that rob the poore Jades of their due/ I scorne all theeves and Drabs:/ Ime ragged, and torne, and true’ (Ragged, and Torne, and True).

‘But seeke to rob the Poore/ of that which is their due:/ This was not in time of yore,/ when this old Cap was new’ (Times Alteration).

And Times Alteration, in turn, includes a verse that shares a rhyme scheme with lines in a later ballad:

‘God save our gracious King,/ and send him long to live,/ Lord, mischife on them bring,/ that will not their Almes give’ (Times Alteration).

‘The one to the other did say,/ what course shall I take to live,/ For none can thrive at this day,/ but such as their mindes doe give?’ (Knavery in all Trades).

Two ballads by Martin Parker were similarly comparable, and the last lines of their refrains are mutually reminiscent: ‘O such a rogue would be hangd’ (Well met Neighbour) and ‘Oh such a scold would be cuckt’ (Have among you good Women). Parker clearly wrote the ballads as a pair, addressing one to men and one to women, and the numerous connections between the songs suggest that he designed them specifically to echo one another, thus stimulating debate among consumers.

The Young Mans Counsellor and Directions for Damosels were connected in much the same way, and the two refrains begin with lines that are closely related: ‘As for the Black and the Brown’ and ‘But as for the Brown and the Black’.

[See 'Postscript', below, for additional notes on this melody].

Songs and Summaries

The praise of our Country Barly-Brake: OR, Cupids advisement for Young-men to take Up this loving old sport... To the tune of, when this Old Cap was new (H. Gosson, 1624-40).  Roxburghe 1.344-45; EBBA 30235.  Recreation – games/sports; Gender – courtship; Society – rural life, urban life.  Young people of both sexes are advised to revive the old rural game of barley-break in order to stimulate love, thus benefitting society.

Ragged, and Torne, and True. Or, the poore mans Resoltion. To the tune of Old Simon the King (‘Printed by the Assignes of Thomas Symcocke, 1628-30). Roxburghe 1.352-53; EBBA 30240.  Society – criticism; Emotions – contentment; Crime – robbery/theft, antisocial, prison, punishment; Death – execution; Morality – general; Bodies – clothing, physique/looks; Recreation – games/sports; Employment – alehouses/inns, prostitution; Places – English. A poor man expresses his contentment with his lowly life, and criticises others for their immorality and criminality.

Times Alteration: OR, The Old Mans rehearsall, what braue dayes he knew A great while agone, when his Old Cap was new. To the Tune of, Ile nere be drunke againe (Assign of Thomas Symcocke, 1628-31). Roxburghe 1.406-07; EBBA 30278. History – nostalgia, recent, medieval; Humour – satire, extreme situations/surprises; Society – criticism, neighbours, old/young, rich/poor; Morality – social/economic; Recreation – alcohol, good fellowship, hospitality, fashions, fairs/festivals, food; Emotions – sorrow; Employment – sailors/soldiers, professions; Gender – masculinity, femininity; Bodies – clothing, adornment; Economy – hardship/prosperity; Violence – between states. An aged man, in nostalgic mood, regrets the many changes that have ruined English society in the 200 years since his hat was first made.

The Praise of Saint Davids day... To the Tune of When this Old Cap was new (no imprint, 1630-50?). Roxburghe 1.324-25; EBBA 30222. History – ancient/mythological, medieval, recent; Environment – crops, animals; Places – nationalities; Bodies – clothing, adornment; Emotions – pride; Employment –sailors/soldiers; Religion – saints; Politics – war; Royalty – praise. This celebrates the ancient people of Wales and provides a historical explanation for their choice of the leak as a symbol of identity.

Knavery in all Trades, OR, Here's an age would make a man mad. To the tune of, Ragged and torne and true (F. Grove, c.1632).  Pepys 1.166-67; EBBA 20073.  Society – criticism; Economy – extortion, hardship, livings; Employment – crafts/trades, professions, urban; Morality – social/economic, general;  Emotions – sorrow. Two men converse about the depressing immorality of the times, highlighting in particular the abuse of the poor by the rich.

Well met Neighbour... To the tune of Ragged and Torne (Thomas Lambert, 1633-69). Euing 383; EBBA 32002. Gender – marriage, masculinity, femininity, adultery/cuckoldry; Society – neighbours, friendship; Violence – domestic, punitive; Morality – romantic/sexual; Bodies – clothing; News – domestic; Recreation – alcohol. Two women discuss the cruelty, drunkenness and infidelity of a series of local husbands, declaring in each case, ‘O such a Rogue would be hangd’.

A Messe of good Fellows...To the tune of, Ragged and torne (Thomas Lambert, c. 1634).  Roxburghe 1.260-61; EBBA 30186.  Recreation – good fellowship, alcohol, music, hunting; Gender – masculinity, marriage; Emotions – joy; Morality – social/economic, romantic/sexual; Bodies – health/sickness; Economy – hardship/prosperity, money.  A celebration of honest good fellowship, with the joys of communal alcoholic intake and living for the moment placed to the fore.

Have among you good Women... To the tune of, O such a Rogue (Thomas Lambert, c. 1634). Roxburghe 1.146-47; EBBA 30093. Gender – marriage, femininity, masculinity, adultery/cuckoldry, sex; Society – neighbours; Morality – romantic/sexual, social/economic; Violence – interpersonal, punitive; Employment – crafts/trades, female, prostitution; Crime – robbery/theft, prison, punishment; News – domestic; Economy – trade. Two men, on the way to market, discuss the scolding, dishonesty and infidelity of a series of local wives, declaring in each case ‘oh such a scold would be cuckt’ (with variations).

Joy and sorrow mixt together: Or, a pleasant new Ditty, wherein you may find Conceits that are pretty to pleasure your mind... To the tune of, Such a rouge [sic] would be hang’d (John Wright the younger, 1634-58).  Roxburghe 1.170-71; EBBA 30107.  Gender – courtship, marriage, sex; Family – pregnancy/childbirth; Bodies – looks/physique; Emotions – longing, contentment, sorrow; Morality – sexual/romantic; Recreation – alcohol, good fellowship; Society – neighbours.  In the first part, a man sings the praises of his sweetheart and marries her, but in the second part, he realises that she is already pregnant by another man and regrets his hurry to be hitched.

The Wonder of Wonders: OR, An Excellent SONG of a / Six-Legged Creature... Tune of, Old Simon the King (registered 1638; James Bissel, 1685-88).  Pepys 4.281; EBBA 21942.  Humour – deceit/disguise, misunderstanding, satire; Nature – animals. A riddling ballad that commends the loyalty and courage of a well-known parasite.

The good Fellowes Complaint... To the Tune of, Raged [sic] and torne and true (John Hammond, 1642-51). Manchester Central Library, Blackletter Ballads 2.23. Economy – taxation, trade, hardship/prosperity, livings, prices/wages, money, credit/debt; Morality – social/economic; Recreation – alcohol, good fellowship; Emotions – anger; Employment – crafts/trades, alehouses/inns; Gender – masculinity, femininity; Politics – domestic, foreign affairs, war; Religion – charity. An angry ballad that blames the Excise for driving up the price of drink, thus endangering good fellowship and threatening trade.

A Merry new song wherein you may view/ The drinking Healths of a Ioviall Crew,/ To 'thappie Return of the Figure of Two. The tune is, Ragged and torn and true (no imprint, 1659-60?).  Roxburghe 2.344-45; EBBA 30788.  Politics – Royalist, celebration, domestic; Royalty – praise; Emotions – joy; History – recent; Humour – verbal. This welcomes Charles II back to England, praises the figure of 2 in general, and looks forward to happier times ahead.

The English Seamans Resolution, OR, The Loyall Subjects Undaunted Valour... To the Tune of, I prethee Love turn to me. OR, When this Old Cap was New (F. Coles, T. Vere, and J. Wright, 1665-74). Euing 106; EBBA 31810.  Politics – war, foreign affairs, Royalist; Employment – sailors/soldiers; Royalty – praise; Emotions – patriotism excitement, pride; Death – warfare; Violence – at sea, between states; Gender – masculinity; Environment – sea; Recreation – alcohol. A sailor declares his readiness to die fighting at sea for Charles II against the Dutch in particular.

A New Wedding: OR, The Marriage of Jenny, and Tommy. To the Tune of Old Simond the King (F. Coles, T. Vere, and J. Wright, 1665-74). 4o Rawl. 566(79). Gender – courtship; Emotions – love, hope, joy; Recreation – weddings, food, dance, music, hospitality, Bodies – looks/physique; Society – neighbours, friendship. In the first part, Tommy plans his married life with his beloved Jenny, and in the second part their lovely wedding is described.

The English Fortune-Teller... The Tune is, Ragged and Torn, &c (W. Thackeray, T. Passenger, and W. Whitwood, 1666-79).  Crawford 1443; EBBA 34134. Gender – courtship, femininity; Bodies – looks/physique; Recreation – games/sports. This offers advice to men on how to choose good potential wives based on their temperament, wealth and appearance, but ultimately the author concludes that courtship is like throwing dice.

A Leicester-shire Frolick; Or, The valiant Cook-Maid... Tune is, Ragged and torn (P. Brooksby, 1670-98). Crawford 589; EBBA 33024. Crime – robbery/theft; Gender – femininity, masculinity; Humour – deceit/disguise, mockery;  Economy – money; Emotions – excitement, shame, scorn; Environment – animals; Employment – crafts/trades, female, apprenticeship/service; Bodies – clothing; Recreation – alcohol, food; Violence – interpersonal. A cook-maid amuses her aristocratic master by successfully robbing five tailors of all their cash, armed only with a black pudding and a bold personality.

Mirth for Citizens: Or, A Comedy for the Country... Tune of, Ragged, torn, and true (P. Brooksby, 1670-98).  Roxburghe 2.328; EBBA 30775. Gender – marriage, adultery/cuckoldry, femininity, masculinity; Humour – mockery, bawdry; Morality – romantic/sexual; Recreation – weddings, food, drink, music; Violence – domestic; Bodies – looks/physique; Economy – money; Emotions – despair, anger; Employment – agrarian; Environment – animals. A wealthy young man marries a beautiful maiden, confident of the joys that lie ahead, but it soon emerges that she is a domineering, violent, scolding adulteress.

The Young Mans Counsellor... Tune of All Trades (J. Deacon, 1671-99). Crawford 43; EBBA 32685. Gender – femininity, courtship, marriage, adultery/cuckoldry, sex; Bodies – looks/physique, adornment; Employment – prostitution. This surveys womankind according to hair colour, complexion and associated characteristics, advising young men that ‘the Black and the Brown’ are ‘the cream of the Town’.

The Souldiers delight in the North... To the Tune of the Northerne Diddle, or Raged and torne, & [true] (imprint missing; 1672-1700?). Manchester Central Library, Blackletter Ballads 2.32; EBBA 36206. Gender – marriage, sex, masculinity, femininity; Emotions – longing, sorrow, anger, contentment; Humour – bawrdry, domestic/familial; Environment – animals. A wife complains to her husband that they no longer make love as once they did and, after a frank exchange of views, he persuades her to make do with what he is now able to offer.

A True CHARACTER OF Sundry Trades & Callings... To the Tune of, Old Simon the KING (composed before 1672; P. Brooksby, 1685-88). Euing 352; EBBA 32049.  Employment – agrarian, crafts/trades, professions; Economy – livings; Gender – femininity, masculinity; Humour – bawdry, verbal. A series of pithy social observations, most of them pointing out that an individual who lacks something that is vital to his or her trade will not be able to thrive.

Rebellion given over House-keeping: OR, A General Sale of Rebellious Houshould stuff... To the Tune of, Old Simon the King (J. W., J. C., W. T., T. P., and M. C., 1682). Pepys 2.209; EBBA 20820. Politics – celebration, controversy, domestic, Royalist, satire, Tories/Whigs; History – recent; Humour – extreme situations/surprises, verbal, mockery, satire; Royalty – praise; Religion – Protestant nonconformity; Economy – household; Employment – crafts/trades; Recreation – food, music. A politically loyal song in which an auctioneer sells off the discredited paraphernalia of a rebellious parliament.

A Tryal of skill, performed by a poor decayed Gentlewoman, Who cheated a rich Graiser of Sevenscore pound, and left him a Child to keep...The Tune is, Ragged and Torn (I. Wright, I. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T. Passinger, 1682-84).  Pepys 4.303; EBBA 21965.  Gender- sex, masculinity, femininity; Emotions – anger; Humour – deceit/disguise, bawdry; Employment – agrarian, crafts/trades; Places – English, travel; Recreation – hospitality, food.  A wealthy grazier comes to London but his plans to celebrate his profits with a night of sex are ruined by an opportunistic woman who runs off with his money while leaving her illegitimate baby behind.

The Naked-Truth: OR, A New Song without a Lye[.] Tune of, Old Simon the King: Or, The Character of sundry Trades and Callings (J. Blare, 1682-1706). Euing 236; EBBA 31784. Employment – crafts/trades, professions; Humour – bawdry, verbal; Economy – livings, trade. This presents a set of pithy observations with bawdy undertones about men of various occupations.

Directions for Damosels... Tune of, All Trades (J. Deacon, 1685-88). Roxburghe 2.108; EBBA 30594. Gender – courtship, masculinity, marriage; Bodies – looks/physique. A companion-piece to The Young Mans Counsellor, advising women on how to choose suitable men for marrying, based on their hair colour, complexion and associated characteristics.

The Doting Old DAD, OR, The Unequal Match betwixt a Rich Muckworm of Fourscore and Ten, and a Young Lass scarce Nineteen... To the Tune of, All Trades (P. Brooksby, 1685-88).  Roxburghe 2.122-23; EBBA 30607. Gender – courtship, marriage, adultery/cuckoldry, sex; Humour – bawdry, extreme situations/surprises; Society – old/young; Bodies – health/sickness, adornment; Disability – physical; Emotions –disdain, frustration; Recreation – fashions.  A young woman refuses to be courted by a wealthy old man because of his impotency but she is persuaded to change her mind when her mother describes, from personal experience, the pleasures of adultery.

The Lusty Friar of Dublin... To the Tune of Old Simon the King (P. Brooksby, J. Deacon, J. Blare, J. Back, 1688-96). Pepys 3.43; EBBA 21039. Gender – adultery/cuckoldry, marriage, sexual violence; Humour – bawdry, domestic/familial, deceit/disguise; Religion – clergy; Morality – romantic/sexual; Places – Irish; Bodies – injury; Emotions – anger; Violence – interpersonal. A friar cuckolds the wealthy squire with whom he lodges but receives justice when, on the order of the angry husband, he is castrated by a surgeon.


The melody may have originated with an Elizabethan ballad that does not survive in a broadside edition but that later appeared in several published collections of songs (see, for example, Wit and Mirth, 1682). It was a humorous drinking song, designed for good fellows who had decided ‘To think of no matters of State,/ But to seek for good companie’. It clearly influenced some of the conservative ballads that followed (see above), and the line ‘Then hang up sorrow and care’ also appeared in Ragged, and Torne, and True.

The tune was also used for numerous white-letter ballads, most of them promoting loyal political opinion and some of them echoing the songs listed above. See, for example: The WHIGS laid open (1683); THE New-Market SONG (1684); and The Jesuites Market (1689). Songs with similar themes were set to the tune in collections such as Ratts Rhimed to Death (1660) and The Rump (1660).

In Goodlove Freeman’s Dialogue Between Hodge and Heraclitus (1682), the political resonances of the tune are perhaps in play when Hodge explains that the harmful effects of a ‘Whigish Paper’ are only counteracted by ‘the Charms of a new Song of Old Simon the King, which [?] Chanters sing daily by my Window’. The melody remained popular in the eighteenth century and featured in several ballad-operas.

Christopher Marsh


Jeremy Barlow (ed.), The Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford’s Dancing Master (1985), no. 233.

Henry Fielding, Tom Jones (1749), p. 174.

John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera (1728), p. 71.

John Playford, Musicks Recreation on the Lyra Viol (1652), p. 80.

                The Division Violin (1685), no. 4.

                Apollo’s Banquet (1693), no. 42.

Humphrey Salter, The Genteel Companion; Being exact Directions for the Recorder (1683), p. 38.

Claude Simpson, The British broadside ballad and its music (New Brunswick, 1966), pp. 545-51.

Nathaniel Thompson, A Choice Collection of 180 Loyal Songs (1685), p. 149.

John M. Ward, ‘Apropos The British broadside ballad and its music’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 20.1 (Spring 1967), p. 64.

Wit and Mirth (1719-20), vol. 2, p. 51.

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Featured Woodcut History

Standard woodcut name: Shop-keeping woman

The purpose of this section is to provide evidence relating to  the career of the image under discussion, paying particular attention to the ‘reflections’ (inter-song associations and connections) that may have been set up if it was chosen to illustrate more than one ballad. The list given below includes all ballads from the Pepys and Roxburghe collections that feature this woodcut or a close variant (these are the two largest collections, including approximately 3300 sheets, in total). References to ballads from other collections occur only when the featured edition of the song under consideration here (or the featured edition of another song from our list) comes from such a source. Ballads from our chart of best-sellers are presented in bold type, and they also appear in colour where there is a link to another song in the database. Please note, however, that the editions of hit songs listed below are not necessarily those for which digital images are presented on this website. Cross-references to other examples of our featured woodcuts are also presented in bold. It is extremely difficult to date many ballads precisely and the chronological order in which the songs are listed is therefore very approximate (we have drawn on previous attempts to date the ballads, making adjustments when additional evidence can be brought into play).

Reflections (an overview)

This image has not been found on any other seventeenth-century ballad in the two largest collections. The only title listed below is therefore our featured edition.

The woodcut appeared, however, on a ballad in the Wood collection, and this sheds a little light on its past. The Merry Wives of Wapping - Wood E25(126) – had displayed the same woodcut, printed from the same woodblock, during the mid-1670s. This ballad imagines a weekly gathering in which the wives of seamen complain to one another, mainly about feeling starved of sex during their husbands’ frequent absences. They feel ravenous, like beasts ‘ty’d up from their meat’ - fittingly, the woman in the picture seems to be selling food for carnivores.

In this instance, the speech bubble of the woman in the picture has been filled. We perhaps expect her to be recruiting customers – the trade sign hanging outside her house implies that she is selling her wares – but instead she is summoning her female friends with the words, ‘Here’s the Wapping Wives Clubb’.

It seems possible, therefore, that the image already had humorous associations when it was chosen, over a decade later, for Rebellion given over House-keeping. This song is certainly supposed to make us chuckle, presenting ‘Old Simon the King’ as an auctioneer in the text and as a woman in the woodcut. On the other hand, the woodblock remained in very good condition when used on this later ballad, implying perhaps that it had not been heavily used in the meantime. We cannot be certain how many people would have remembered it, but we can be fairly sure that it was a success in its new home, where it called to mind the dismissal of the 'Rump' parliament in 1653 (see Song history). The woman, in conjunction with the text, no longer calls her friends but instead advertises the ‘Rebellious Household-stuff’ that she is about to sell off.

Songs and summaries

Rebellion given over House-keeping: OR, A General Sale of Rebellious Houshould stuff (J. W., J. C., W. T., T. P., and M. C., 1682). Pepys 2.209; EBBA 20820. Politics – celebration, controversy, domestic, Royalist, satire, Tories/Whigs; History – recent; Humour – extreme situations/surprises, verbal, mockery, satire; Royalty – praise; Religion – Protestant nonconformity; Economy – household; Employment – crafts/trades; Recreation – food, music. A politically loyal song in which an auctioneer sells off the discredited paraphernalia of a rebellious parliament (picture placement: the scene appears beneath the title, and there are no other woodcuts).

Christopher Marsh

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Related Texts

Alexander Banks' white-letter version of Rebellion given over House-keeping was thrice reprinted by his close colleague, Nathaniel Thompson, between 1684 and 1685: in his 86 Loyal Poems, p. 128;  his 120 Loyal Songs: p. 155; and his 180 Loyal Songs, p. 149.

The song was so notorious that a Whig parody appeared in 1690: The Muses Farewel to Popery & Slavery, Or, A Collection of Miscellany Poems, Satyrs, Songs, &c. made by the most Eminent Wits of the Nation, as the Shams, Intreagues, and Plots of Priests and Jesuits Gave Occasion (London, 1690), p. 107. 

Angela McShane


Angela McShane, The Ballad Trade and Its Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain (Woodbridge, forthcoming), ch. 1.

G. M. Peerbooms, Nathaniel Thompson, Tory Printer, Ballad-Monger and Propagandist. (Nijmegen, 1983), Appendix I.

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Rebellion given over House-keeping:/ OR,/ A General Sale of Rebellious Houshould stuff.

Being a Pleasant New Song.

To the Tune of, Old Simon the King

[Play each verse by clicking anywhere within its text]


REbellion hath broken up House,

and hath left me Old Lumber to sell:

Come hither and take your choice,

I’le promise to use you well.

Will you buy the Old Speaker’s Chair,

which was warm, and easie to sit in,

And oftentimes hath been made clean,

when as it was fouler then fiting:

Says Old Simon the King,

says Old Simon the King,

With his thread-bare Cloaths, and his Mamsey Nose,

sing hey ding, ding, a ding ding.


Will you buy any bacon flitches?

they’r the fattest that ever were spent;

They’r the sides of the old Committees,

fed up with th’ long parliment.

Here’s a pair of bellows and tongs,

and for a small matter I’le sell ’em;

They’r made of the Presbiters Lungs,

to blow up the Coals of Rebellion,

Says old Simon the King, &c.


I had thought to have given them once

to some Black=Smith for his Forge;

But now I have consider’d on’t,

I for them have found other use:

For i’le give them to some Choir,

to make the Organs to roar,

And the little Pipes squeek higher

then ever they did before,

Says Old Simon the King,

says Old Simon the King,

With his Thread-bare Cloaths, and his mamsey Nose,

sing hey ding, ding, a ding ding.


Here’s a couple of Stools for sale,

the one square and t’other is round;

Betwixt them both the Tail

of the Rump fell unto the Ground.

Will you buy the States Council Table,

which was made of the good wain=Scot;

The frame was a tottering Bable

to uphold th’independent plot;

Says old Simon the King, &c.


Here’s the Beeson of Reformation,

which would have made clean the Floor;

But it swept the wealth out of th’ Nation

and left us Dirt good store.

Will you buy the States Spining wheel,

which spun for the Ropers Trade?

But better it had stood still,

For now in has spun a Fair Thred?

Says old Simon the King, &c.


Here’s a very good Clyster Pipe,

which was made of a Butchers stump?

And oft=times it hath been us’d

to cure the Colds of the Rump.

Here’s a lump of Ignorance,

which once was a Justice of peace,

Who Nel and the Devil did serve;

but now it is come to This,

Says old Simon the King, &c.


Here’s a Role of States Tobacco,

if any Good Fellow will take it:

It’s nither Virginia nor Spanish,

but I’le tell you how they do make it;

Tis Covenant mixt with Engagement,

with an Abjuration Oath;

And many of them that did take it

complain it was foul in the Mouth,

Says old Simon the King, &c.


Yet the Ashes may happily serve

to cure the Scab of the Nation,

When they have an itch to serve,

a Rebellion by Innovation,

A Lanthorn here is to be bought,

the like was scarce e’re begotten:

For many a Plot’t has found out,

before they ever were thought on.

Says old Simon the King, &c.


Will you buy the Rumps great Saddle,

which once did carry the Nation;

And here’s the Bitt and the Bridle,

and Curb of Dissimulation?

Here’s the Breeches of the Rump,

With a fair dissembling Cloak,

And a Presbiterian Jump,

with an Independent Smock,

Says old Simon the King, &c.


Will you buy a Conscience ne’r turn’d,

which served the High Court of Justice?

And stretch’d until England it mourn’d,

but Hell will buy that if the worst is:

Here’s Joan Crumwels Kitching=stuff=Tub,

wherein is the Fat of the Rumpers,

With which the Old Noll’s horns did rub,

when he was got drunk with full Bumpers:

Says old Simon the King, &c.


Here’s the Purse of the Publique Faith,

here’s the Model of Sequestration,

Here are the old wives who on good troth,

lent Thimbles to ruine the Nation:

Here is Dick Crumwell’s Protectorship,

and here is Lambert’s Commission,

And here is Hugh Peters his Scrip,

cram’d with the Tumultuous Petitions.

Says old Simon the King, &c.


Here’s Olivers Brewing Vessels,

and here’s his Dray and his Slings:

Here’s Hewsons Aul and his Bristles,

with divers other odd things.

And what doth the price belong

to all these matters before ye?

I’le sell them all for an old song,

and so I do end my story

Says Old Simon the King,

says Old Simon the King,

With his thread-bare cloaths, and a Mamsey Nose,

Sing hey ding, ding, ading ding.


Printed for J.W. J.C. W.T. T.P./  and M. C.

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This ballad is included according to the criteria for List B (see Methodology). The evidence presented here is accurate, to the best of our knowledge, as of 1st January 2024.

No. of known editions c. 1560-1711: 5

No. of extant copies: 10

Appearances on publishers' lists: none.

Other registrations with Stationers' Company: none.

3-yr periods that produced multiple editions: 1682-84 (3).

New tune titles generated: none.

Specially-commissioned woodcuts: none known.

Pre-1640 bonus: no.

POINTS: 10 + 10 + 0 + 0 + 18 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 38

[On this ballad, see also Angela McShane, Political Broadside Ballads of Seventeenth-Century England, no. 567X].

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