The Fiddle and the Spade

This is the song performed by a fiddler during the Imbrock Advent Wassail, in Chapter 22 of The Orphanmaster, as composed by me, my husband Gil Reavill and our friend Brian Zinsmeister. “Twa” is a dialect word meaning “two.”


I live by twa trades
I live by twa trades
And if you ask me what they are
I say the fiddle and the spade

The fiddle and the spade, sire
The fiddle and the spade
One is for the landlord, sire
The other’s for the maid

Turn and turn again, boys
Now on the end, now in the middle
Spin your lady spin
I’ll bend this bow on the fiddle
Turn and turn again
Now the handsome man, now the pretty maid
We end as we begin
Put down the fiddle and pick up the spade

One night out of seven, sire
One night out of seven
I give my Lord his day of rest
But Saturday is heaven
Saturday is heaven, sire
Saturday is heaven
I play my fiddle from sundown on
And dance until eleven