The Quaker’s wife sat down to bake, With all her bairns about her.
She made them all a sugar cake, And the miller he wants his mouter (fee for grinding flour).
Sugar and spice and all things nice, And all things very good in it,
And then the Quaker sat down to play, A tune upon the spinet.
Merrily danced the Quaker’s wife, And merrily danced the Quaker (repeat)
It’s a common early jig form. Compare with “the De’ils awa wi’ the exise man”
Earliest known printing, Rutherford’s Choice Collection of 60 Country Dances (London, 1750).
In Robert Bremner’s Collection of Scots Reels, 1757. widely popular across Britain.
Compare with Irish jig “Merrily Kissed the Quaker”
As “Wilke’s Riggle”, used for a 1777 electioneering song in the Bodleian Broadsides collection.
John Wilkes,1727-1797 stood as MP for Newcastle.