> Waterson:Carthy > Songs > John Hamilton

John Hamilton / Jock Hamilton

[ Roud 5869 ; G/D 2:324 ; Ballad Index GrD2324 ; trad.]

Martin Carthy sang John Hamilton in 1994 on Waterson:Carthy’s eponymous debut album Waterson:Carthy. Martin Carthy commented in the sleeve notes:

John Hamilton comes from the collection of songs by Gavin Greig and the Rev. James Duncan [where it is catalogued as Jock Hamilton] which was published in the last few years by Aberdeen University. It’s a fabulous piece of work and full of little squibs like this sweet old-fashioned piece of naughtiness dressed up as having a good time at everyone else’s expense. Nowadays he’d probably be charged with assaulting the enquiring policeman’s knee with his nose and given a gaol sentence. Innocent days.

Piers Cawley sang John Hamilton at a Trad Song Tuesday Twitter singaround. He included his recording in 2020 on his download EP Trad Song Tuesdays Volume 1.


Martin Carthy sings John Hamilton

John Hamilton wagered a wager, four hundred guineas and ten,
That he would go down London City and never speak aught but sing.

So/and/still he sang, Tey ey addlety, Tey ey addlety tan
So he sang, Eetify addlety, Tey ey addlety tan

Policeman come running and shouting, “A madman’s coming along.
Soon we shall see who he is and we’ll soon put an end to his song.”


They took him before the justice to see who he could be;
Still he sang Eetify addlety, on with his singing went he.

Brought him some pen and some paper to see if he could write;
Still he sang Eetify addlety, on with his singing all night.


Come running the justice’s daughter, a beautiful woman was she,
Saw John Hamilton singing and on him she cast her eye.

“Daddy go open the chamber and let the young gentleman in,
See that you use him genteelly and give him a bottle of wine.”


John Hamilton put his hand in his pocket, he made oh the shilling to fly,
Give a gold ring to the lady and on with his singing went he.


John Hamilton won him a wager, four hundred guineas and ten,
Went home with the justice’s daughter and that put an end to his song.

She loved him for crackling his fingers, she loved him for singing a song,
Loved him for Eetify addlety, Tey ey addlety tan.



Transcribed from the singing of Martin Carthy by Susanne and sent to the Mudcat Forum 2 June 1998, then sent to Garry by Wolfgang Hell.