“The Game of Cards (I)”


A young man meets a girl by the highway. They walk together; she would play a game. He wants her to learn "the game of all fours." When the "cards" are "dealt," she takes his "jack." If he will return, she offers to "play the game over and over again."


The actual card-game of "All Fours" is also known, in the USA, as "Seven-Up," "Old Sledge," "High-Low-Jack," and "Pitch" -- but the use of the game as a sexual metaphor did not make it across the ocean. - PJS

W. C. Hazlitt _A Dictionary of Faiths & Folklore_, entry on "All Fours," notes that the common amusement of having an adult get down on arms and knees and have a child ride on his back is also known as "all fours," which obviously has high potential for sexual undercurrents.

There are other songs entitled "The Game of Cards" -- e.g. Healy-OISBv2, pp. 81-83. Some may have distant dependence on this, but most are probably distinct. - RBW

Yates, Musical Traditions site _Voice of the People suite_ "Notes - Volume 11" - 11.9.02: "it should be stressed that this song has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the card game." - BS


  • Bodleian, Firth b.34(120), "Game of All Fours," unknown, n.d.; also Firth b.34(281), "Game of All Fours"


  • Sam Larner, "All Fours" (on SLarner02)
  • Levi Smith, "The Game of Cards" (on Voice11)


  1. Kennedy 175, "The Game of Cards" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. MacSeegTrav 36, "All Fours" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  4. Roud #232
  5. BI, K175


Alternate titles: “One-Two-and-Three”; “The Game of All Fours”; “As I Walked Out”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1908 (Sharp)
Found in: Britain(England(South,Lond))