A Queer Bawdy Ballad The tale of two young women from this region [Denbighshire] who dressed themselves in men’s clothes, and went courting to a country house to seduce two young women, who were strangers to them. (Link opens to an external site)
Two blogs were produced about the above balled, which is dated roughly to the 1870s. The second, A Queer Welsh Ballad, considers the subject in more depth. (Link opens to an external site)
Sarah Jane Rees (1839 – 1916) writes the poem Fy Ffrynd (My Friend) placing herself in the male lover role and probably dedicated to the woman with whom she was having a relationship, Fanny Rees.
Ah! Annwyl chwaer, ‘r wyt ti i mi, Oh! My dear sister, you to me
Fel lloer I’r lli, yn gyson; As the moon to the sea, constantly,
Dy ddilyn heb orphwyso wna Following you restlessly are
Serchiadau pura’m calon, My heart’s pure affections
I seren dêg dy wyneb di To the fair star of your face
Ni welaf fi un gymhar … I see no equal …
Mae miloeed eraill, sêr o fri, A thousand other stars of distinction
Yn gloewi y ffurfafen; Brighten the firmament;
Edmygaf hwy, ond caraf di, I admire them, but I love you,
Fy Ngwener gu, fy ‘Ogwen’. My beloved Venus, my ‘Ogwen.’
Mrs Jarley’s Living Wax-Works [Visiting Tenby]
The following stanzas, written by the Bearded Lady, were sung by her to the tune of “The Captain with the Whiskers”
THE BEARDED LADY When I get to each town in Mrs. Jarley's caravan, The people all begin to stare, for they think that I'm a man; But when told by Mrs. Jarley that I'm of the other sex, Oh! the rude remarks they make would a martyr nearly vex. Says one, Oh! there's a guy," and another, Oh! my eye That's the queerest looking object that ever I did spy," And the children when they see me, point and shout aloud with glee, Ob that woman with the whiskers is looking straight at me. Oh! 'tis just enough to kill me, I cannot stand it long, I would n't mind a mild remark, but they make them awful strong; Had I known of all this pain, all this sorrow, all this woe I'd have seen in California, Mrs. Jarley and her show. Oh! I cannot stand it long, say don't you think it wrong, That I should be a laughing stock each evening for the throng; Last night I heard a yokel say, oh! it was so bold and free, (Sarah) that old gal with the whiskers has got her eye on we." There's another sort of party that I really cannot stand, It is the swell that makes remarks, and thinks it something grand. Just a sample of their nonsense I'll endeavour now to give, 'Tis really quite surprising how they let such people live. Said one the other night, "I say, Chawley, here's a, fwight, What a deuced awkward cweature to meet out late at night." And another lisping coxcomb, as conceited as could be, Said I'm sure the girl is over head and ears in love with me." Oh! I feel so very lonely, and I feel so very sad, To be always laughed and gibed at, is really much too bad; My mistress she is very kind, and bids me do not care A fig for what the people say about my face and hair. But I like to tell the wrong that I suffer all along, But here comes Mrs. Jarley, so I must end my song. Your approval please to give of Mrs. Jarley and the show, And the woman with the whiskers who stands before you now. Source: The Tenby Observer, 18 January 1877 NEWPORT POLICE INTELLIGENCE Edwin Fisher, a young man, was charged with being drunk and causing an obstruction in Commercial-street, being dressed in female attire, on Saturday last, at 10.30, Prisoner was fined 21s., including costs, or 14 days. Source: Monmouthshire Merlin, 2 November 1877
MONTGOMERYSHIRE QUARTER SESSIONS. BILL IGNORED. The Grand Jury threw out a bill charging Williams Gittins with having at Llanfyllin, Powys on the 19th January, unlawfully assaulted William Jones with the intent then with him to commit an abominable crime.
Source: Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard, 15 March 1878
MERTHYR POLICE COURT. ALLEGED ATTEMPT TO COMMIT AN UNNATURAL OFFENCE – David Lewis and William Davies were brought up on remand charged as above. The evidence was gone through in a cleared court on the previous Saturday. To-day the Stipendiary, after addressing the prisoners some words of warning, dismissed them.
Source: Merthyr Telegraph, 10 October 1879