“The Maid and the Magpie”


The sailor goes to sea, leaving his girl and the magpie. The girl spends time with the parson, and tells the bird she prefers him. The lonely sailor hurries home; the bird reveals the truth. Neither sailor nor parson want the girl thereafter


I have not found a broadside but evidence that there is one is that there is a broadside parody: Bodleian, Harding B 11(2273), "The Maid and the Dustman. A popular parody on the 'Maid & magpie'" ("Once there was a maid who was thought very shy"), unknown, n.d. The parody description: The maid's lover is a tailor; she said they'd marry when he "signed the pledge again." She "hook'd it with the dustman" when her pa goes to church. The girl talks all day to the dustman [instead of the magpie]. When the tailor is asleep the girl goes to the dustman but they are interrupted by her mother. The tailor gets drunk and returns home to find the girl gone. He complains to her parents [instead of the magpie] who tell him about the dustman. The take her to court and she puts the blame on the dustman, who disappears; the bird reveals the truth. Neither tailor nor dustman want the girl thereafter "and she's got no one to cuddle, so she sleeps by herself." - BS


  • Cyril Poacher, "The Maid and the Magpie" (on Voice06)


  1. Meredith/Anderson, pp. 44-45, "The Maid and the Magpie" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #1532
  3. BI, MA044


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1968
Found in: Britain(England(Lond)) Australia