Collected by Patti Barrow Linda K. Wilson Dottie Rumph For M.C. Parler Transcribed by Linda Humphrey
Sung by Otis Williams Wesley, Arkansas May 2, 1962
Reel 421 Item 12
There was an old lady, lived over the sea,
And she was an island queen;
Her daughter lived off in a new country With oceans of water between.
The old lady's pockets were full of gold,
But never contented was she;
So she called on her daughter
To pay her a tax of three cents a pound on the tea.
Oh Mother, dear Mother, her daughter replied,
I can't do this thing you ask;
I'm willing to pay a fair price for the tea,
But never the three penny tax.
You shall, said the mother, a-bristlin' with rage, For you're my own daughter you see,
And sure quite proper a daughter should pay
Her mother a tax on her tea.
And so the old lady her servants called up
And packed off a budget of tea,
And ready for three cents a pound, she put in Enough for a large family.
Her tea was conveyed to her daughter's own door On down by the ocean side,
And the bouncing girl poured out every pound In the dark and boiling tide.
And then she said to the island queen,
Oh Mother, dear Mother, quoth she,
Your tea you may have when it's steeped enough,
But never a tax from me.
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