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The theme of this song was popular in the late eighteenth century when similar songs were printed, some of them full of sexual imagery. This one, in which the maiden is occasionally fifteen years old, was much printed on broadsides in England for more than a century. There are 9 stanzas in the broadside version (e.g., Bodleian Ballads website, Harding B11 (2338)). The song lasted well into the twentieth century as numerous celebrated recordings testify. It was popular in the oral tradition and latterly on the folk scene.