There was an old lady lived over the sea,
And she was an Island Queen.
Her daughter lived off in a new country,
With an ocean of water between.
The old lady’s pockets were full of gold,
But never contented was she,
So she called on her daughter to pay her a tax
Of three pence a pound on her tea,
Of three pence a pound on her tea.
“Now, mother, dear mother,” the daughter replied,
“I shan’t do the thing you ax.
I’m willing to pay a fair price for the tea,
But never the three-penny tax.”
“You shall,” quoth the mother, and reddened with rage,
“For you’re my own daughter, you see,
And sure ’tis quite proper the daughter should pay
Her mother a tax on her tea,
Her mother a tax on her tea.”
And so the old lady her servant called up
And packed off a budget of tea;
And eager for three pence a pound, she put in
Enough for a large family.
She ordered her servants to bring home the tax,
Declaring her child should obey,
Or old as she was, and almost woman grown,
She’d half whip her life away,
She’d half whip her life away.
The tea was conveyed to the daughter’s door,
All down by the ocean’s side;
And the bouncing girl poured out every pound
In the dark and boiling tide;
And then she called out to the Island Queen,
“Oh, mother, dear mother,” quoth she,
“Your tea you may have when ’tis steeped quite enough
But never a tax from me,
But never a tax from me.”