The water doctor (Anonymous)
- Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2013-05-13). Score information: A4, 4 pages, 76 kB Copyright: Personal
- Edition notes: This edition comprises a modern realisation, and a statement of the piece in its original specialized format. Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.
Description: Published without attribution in Warren's twenty-sixth collection of glees and catches.
This is one of those catches that is more lubricious in performance than the anodyne lyrics might suggest. It illustrates a brief but interesting period in social history: when purveyors of folk remedies (water doctors and cunning men) were accorded respect; when inoculation was still a folk remedy, yet to be established as an efficacious technique by Jenner; when the introduction of an item of armour was widely (but erroneously) credited to a specific personage; and when that innovator's name would, amongst the ton, be pronounced as "the Duke of Cundum".
Original text and translations
"O great and learned doctor, to you from far I'm come,
To bring my daughter's water; Alas, poor girl, she's dumb."
"Oh ho, is she so? I'll soon prescribe a charm;
The girl must have a prick, sir, in the arm."
"I humbly thank your honour, she'll not dislike the plan.
Oh, what should we have done without a cunning man?"