The Ups and Downs
was collected in 1908 by D Hammond and published in The Hammond And Gardiner Manuscript which in turn was published by Frank Purslow in his Marrow Bones
. The tune and song were taken down in Petersfield, Hampshiret, from Mr. E. Frankham.
This is a jolly song of a lad and pretty little maiden meeting on the road to Alyesbury market. Her garter becoming undone, she requests the assistance of her companion to put it right upon which they retire to the long grass in a green grove. After a little garter readjusting (we do not want to pry do we), the lass is inquisitive wanting to the lad's name and occupation. On being told that his name is Mickie, and that he is a drover from Dublin, she loses interest because, as the song goes, he lives at the sign of The Ups and Downs
. It has been said elsewhere, that this is an early example of discrimination against the Irish.
According to a note in Marrow Bones
, it has been suggested by James Reeves that the "ups and downs" represents the 69th. Foot regiment, 69 being a number which reads the same when written upside down.