Not all wench songs are naughty

This year I wrote a song of advice for wenches and for, well, everyone. And (as you may have guessed) it’s G-rated! Check it out below.


Boots Before Corset

I met Becky Cooper when I was 18.

A more-famous wench I’d ne’er seen.

I asked her advice as I started me life

To save me some heartache and strife.


Well, she looked me o’er from me head to me feet,

Said, “Girl, I’ll tell you what me mother told me:



It’s boots before corset

Like horse before cart,

Like rise before shine,

Like sow before reap.

I know you young wenchlettes will do as you please,

But it’s boots before corset for me, me, me, me.

Boots before corset for me.”


Through countless adventures and years since that day,

I’ve struggled, I’ve romped, and I’ve played.

So many choices and tasks day and night,

I feared I could do nothing right.


Then I’d take a deep breath and I’d quiet me brain,

To hear the echo of that wise baud’s refrain:



It’s boots before corset

Like horse before cart,

Like rise before shine,

Like sow before reap.

I know you young wenchlettes will do as you please,

But it’s boots before corset for me, me, me, me.

Boots before corset for me.”


I’m sure all you kittens are wiser than me,

Of my words of advice you’ve no need,

You’re calm and collected, and organized too,

So life never overwhelms you.


But if ever you feel control slipping away

And you’re wondering just how you’ll get through your day:



It’s boots before corset

Like horse before cart,

Like rise before shine,

Like sow before reap.

I know you young wenchlettees will do as you please,

But it’s boots before corset for me, me, me, me.

Boots before corset for me.”


Copyright 2019 Toni Finley


Newest (and unfunny) wench song: Same Time Next Year

I wrote a faire closing song, to be performed at the final pub sing before the gates close at the annual medieval faire. It’s sweet and sentimental, maybe even sappy. We’ll be performing it for the first time at this year’s faire. That closing pub sing is on Feb. 4, 2018, at 5:30 p.m.


Same Time Next Year

We’ve laughed, and we’ve sung, we’ve drunk the last drops.

We’ve savored the sweetness of love.

Stepped out of our lives into fantasy play,

While the sun and the moon shone above.

The moment draws near when we must bid adieu,

Then travel our separate ways.

Far from the warmth of each other’s arms

And back to the real world that waits.


(Chorus) Same time next year

A song that will ring through my heart

Same time next year

Until we’re no longer apart.


Two weekends a year are never enough

To do all the things we would do.

But memories we’ve made will brighten the days

And the nights when we’re lonely or blue.

In the months until then, if we should meet,

By chance, by luck or by fate,

We’ll thank all the gods who’ve given us time

And shortened our year-long wait.


Same time next year

A song that will ring through my heart

Same time next year

Until we’re no longer apart.


So kiss me again and promise me, love,

Though our paths up ahead go astray,

That you’ll save a space for me in your heart,

And let thoughts of me brighten your day.

Raise a glass in a toast to the laughter we’ve shared

And a promise to do it again

When Hoggetowne convenes next January:

To your health and your happiness, friends.


Same time next year

A song that will ring through my heart

Same time next year

Until we’re no longer apart.

Copyright 2018 Toni Finley

Save a Horse

Here’s a song I wrote in 2016, but only just worked out the music for and added another verse. I wrote it for my singing wench troupe, Just Desserts, to perform. I’ve included some of the banter that could precede or intro it.

Wenches’ ASPCA ad entry

(Spoken) We wenches love animals, and we are very vocal in our support of those who work so hard to protect our furry, finny, and feathery friends. In fact, when the Hoggetowne chapter of the ASPCA held a contest to select a song for their [2017] donation campaign, we of course threw ourselves… or more accurately, Cupcake… into writing our entry. And while we didn’t win (spoken: awwwwww!), we stand by our song, so now we’re going to…


Save a horse, save a horse, ride a coachman instead.

Mount up, wrap your hands in his mane.

Let him know what you need with a squeeze of your… knees.

Giddy-up, let ‘im fly, tally ho! [spoken: Tally who?!]

Be light with the crop, And don’t mark up his flanks,

As he canters and gallops and trots.

Put him through all his paces, and explore virgin spaces.

Rub him down when you get him too hot.

Save a horse, save a horse, ride a coachman instead.

Let the breeze lick the sweat from your skin.

Tie your hair in a thong as you urge him along.

Set the pace. It’s not a race. You’ll both win.

For the love of the stallions and mares we employ,

It’s the least we wenches can do.

Whether bareback or saddled, we will ride till we’re addled,

While the horses stay safe in the barn.

Save a horse, save a horse, ride a coachman instead.

Every Sunday, come rain or come shine.

If you both find it suits you, you could add others days too,

Just think of the horses and smile!

© 2018 Toni Finley All Rights Reserved


Miss Jean Louis: so little is known

miss jean louis profile shot

The glamorous Miss Jean Louis, famous doyenne of G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S., is an international woman of mystery, who rarely grants interviews and never poses for photographs. She is a cheerleader for those making their way into the ways of the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, encouraging their fledgling attempts to complete items. She is also a keen and snarky observer of the shenanigans some participants have pulled. She maintains a cool distance from the fray, unless her rapier wit and quick disciplinary actions are required. She doesn’t seem to require our admiration, yet one gets the sense that an occasional “Yes, Mistress” would not be uncalled for… or unappreciated.

About her origins, little is known. Her Twitter profile says only that she was “born in a hut in Khor Angar, in the dirt. Midwifed into the world kicking and screaming” (sic), with no further details to feed the hungry minds of her 17.4K followers.

Khor Angar is an African town, located in the northern Obock region of Djibouti. You can find it on the west coast of the Bab el Mandeb Strait. Along with a relatively recent statue to Miss Jean Louis, you will also find an airstrip there.

khor angar satellite view copy

We know nothing about Miss Jean Louis’ childhood, although there are songs sung in Khor Angar about a copper-haired girl child with a green eyes who charmed a storm into calming, thus saving the crops one summer. The song is reputed to be hundreds of years old, but recent visitors there speculate that the lyrics were changed within the last generation or two, perhaps in response to an exploit by our now-famous doyenne. The truth of the matter may never be known, as Miss Jean Louis’ age and date of birth remain information she does not share. So we cannot determine with any certainty if the timeframe of the lyrics change coincides with Miss Jean Louis’ childhood years.

One intrepid Gisher, who has requested anonymity, went to Khor Angar and tried to locate Miss Jean Louis’ parents. Alas, none of the villagers would provide their names or any identifying information about them. Indeed, some of the elderly women of the town indicated that Miss Jean Louis had sprung from the tide as a toddler, with no parents in evidence. Of course, Midwife Zeira, an elderly and nearly blind woman who claimed to have assisted at Miss Jean Louis’ birth laughed at this notion, but declined to offer the name or current whereabouts of either parent. She said only that they were golden-haired and had excellent manners for outsiders, with strange accents when they spoke French.

One can only hope Miss Jean Louis will decide to open up about her early life, perhaps by penning an autobiography. At least 17.4K people be sure to push it to the top of every sort of bestseller list.

#GISHWHES 2016 #GoTeamAbnosomeLovesPhotobombers #Item 124


I did it again! (a.k.a., “Where’s the Rum?)

Where’s the Rum?


When I was a wee lass

Me father said to me,

“Me darlin’ girl, this pub be yours

When all grown up you be.”

He taught me about business

And how to guard me bum,

And told me not to trust the men

Demanding shots of rum.


Where’s the rum? Where’s the rum?

Dear lord, please tell me, where’s the rum?

I thought me heart was breakin’,

But it’s just me head that’s achin’,

So someone tell me, where’s the rum?

Ach, please just pour some bloody rum.


He warned me about salty men

Who sailed upon the sea.

They’d come with tales of derring-do,

Just hoping to woo me.

They’d smile and try to kiss me

And tell me I’m the one,

When all the while their deepest wish:

To drink up all me rum.




The devil rum can turn your head

While dancin’ on your tongue.

Its promises of happiness

Are lies from songs long sung.

For if it could deliver

A life of endless fun,

Then why are all the sailin’ lads

In need of yet more rum?




Of all the things me father said

To help me grow up strong,

His wisdom on this subject here

Has never been proved wrong.

For a man home from the islands

Who’s felt the southern sun

Will never cease to crave the taste

Of good Jamaican rum.



© 2016 Toni Finley All Rights Reserved



My singing wench troupe, Just Desserts, will be debuting this song next Wednesday night at our Wenchy Wenchday show at Market Street Pub & Cabaret. It’s my newest song, intended to get the audience singing along on the chorus.

The newest Lassies’ Birthday Ditty

Prefaced by “Today we celebrate [birthday lassie’s name] birthday and proclaim her WENCH FOR THE DAY! Many people don’t understand what we mean by that, so we thought we’d spell it out for you.”

(Shouted) W!

(Sung by wench 1) You’re wet, wild, and wonderful.

(Shouted) E!

(Sung by wench 2) You’re enticing, enchanting, and edible.

(Shouted) N!

(Sung by wench 3) You’re naughty, nice, and negotiable.

(Shouted) C!

(Sung by wench 4) You’re clever, cool, and coaxable.

(Shouted) H!

(Sung, one each by the wenches in same order as above, until the second “hella,” then sung in unison to the end.) You’re hot. You’re horny. You’re hilarious. You’re humid. You’re happy. You’re Hermione. (spoken: Hermione’s not an adjective!) You’re hella, hella-[the birthday lassie’s first name in crescendo]!

And you’re the birthday wench!

It’s all in the delivery, as songs are wont to be. We (my singing wench troupe, Just Desserts) performed it for the first time at a birthday bash for our friend and fan, Bev (aka Bubbles), to raucous approval. (Thank goodness.)

Definitely not my most sophisticated songwriting, but it was effective. I’d like to come up with something more clever and punny, something more on par with the men’s ditty and the pirate song, but I haven’t had the brain space to get it together yet this little tune worked for this gig.

If we record a version of this and post it on youtube (or if someone else recorded it last night and posted it), I’ll come back and post a link.

A pirate song for me wenches

I wrote a new song today, this one with a pirate theme. Check it out:

Guarding Me Booty

Gentleman Jim came to see me last night.

He wanted to raid me booty.

He claimed me riches were renowned,

He was captured by me beauty.

But his sack was too light,

and his dirk was too short,

and he had only pieces of three.

So I sent him away

with me boot on his bum.

That pirate’s not for me.

(chorus) Yo, ho! Yo, who?

Keep a civil tongue in yer head.

Or ye’ll never see me treasures again

Nor ever warm me bed.

Salty Sam came to see me last night.

He wanted to plunder me chest.

He praised the treasures loud and long,

Secured inside me dress.

But he fumbled the lock,

and his key didn’t fit,

then he called me Bess?

So I sent him away

with a lump on his head.

That pirate failed the test.

(chorus) Yo, ho! Yo, who?

Keep a civil tongue in yer head.

Or ye’ll never see me treasures again

Nor ever warm me bed.

Randy Dan came to see me last night.

He wanted to board me ship.

He’d never sailed on a sloop so sleek,

Nor had an around-the-world trip.

But he went overboard,

and his hook scratched me deck,

and me sheets he damn near ripped.

So I sent him away

with a smack and a curse.

That pirate should be whipped!

(chorus) Yo, ho! Yo, who?

Keep a civil tongue in yer head.

Or ye’ll never see me treasures again

Nor ever warm me bed.

Captain Jack came to see me last night.

He brought me chocolates and wine,

He dressed me in the finest silk,

Undressed me in good time.

Laid his anchor so deep,

‘Til with joy I did weep,

And left me feeling fine.

Yes, me booty I shared,

Again and again.

And traded his treasure for mine.

(chorus) Oh, oh, oh, oooo!

With me feet up over his head.

He can tally me treasures again and again

And ever warm me bed.

© 2015 Toni Finley All Rights Reserved

Oh, I wrote this wench song in July!

I have no idea how I managed to not post it here. (Sigh.)


Fiddler, dear fiddler, draw music from me.

With a stroke long and slow,

Make a melody sweet.

Caress my long neck. Tease me with your bow, oh, oh!

Oh, please, sir, won’t you fiddle with me?

Oh, please, sir, please fiddle with me.


Piper, dear piper, put me to your lips.

I would have your breath fill me

In a lingering kiss.

With your fingering deft and your tongue on my…reed.

Oh, piper, won’t you blow me?

Oh, piper, won’t you blow me?


My lutenist love, what sweet music we’d make.

I have strings yet untuned.

I have chords yet unplayed.

Put your hand on my frets and explore every key.

Oh, lutenist, won’t you strum me?

Oh, lutenist, won’t you strum me?


Drummer, dear drummer, your bodhran I’ll be.

Slap your hands on my skin,

With your bone pound the beat.

Stroke a rhythm so hard, so wild and so free.

Oh, drummer, won’t you bang me?

Oh, drummer, won’t you bang me?


Minstrel, my minstrel, please make me your song.

On your lips I would linger.

I would dance on your tongue.

Sure, I’ll soar to the rafters when you hit the G.

Oh, minstrel, won’t you sing me?

Oh, minstrel, won’t you sing me?


Lover, my lover, let’s do it again,

My muse we’ve awakened

And inspired by our sin.

Such beautiful music together make we…

Once again, from the top, with feeling. (Mime instrument)

Instrument swap? Why not! (Swap instrument miming)


Love this writing quote:

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. – Vladimir Nabokov, novelist (1899-1977)


And this one, for different reasons:

Creative minds are uneven, and the best of fabrics have their dull spots. – HP Lovecraft, short-story writer and novelist (1890-1937)

I wrote another wench song!

I’m not sure if I mentioned it here before, but a few months ago I told my wench troupe (and the producer of our first and only album)* that I want us to have a half-dozen original songs for Just Desserts to add to our repertoire. That way, we can freshen up our live act and have some original songs for our second album, should we record one. They all thought it was a great idea. And they all declared themselves completely incapable of writing any of them… which left me to undertake it.

With their enthusiastic encouragement, many misgivings and tons of bravado, I said I’d give it a whirl. And a couple of weeks ago, at a wench rehearsal that included our producer, I was pressed to declare myself.

“So, Toni, how many songs do you intend to write this year?” Our producer had a pen poised, ready to write down my answer.

My reply was scared laughter, followed by, “Oh, Ozzy, you delusional bastard! One does not plan to write songs. One hopes to write them.** And given how long it’s taken me to get the women’s birthday ditty*** written, I wouldn’t dare make a prediction.”

Everyone laughed, told me they believed in me, wished me luck and pointedly declined to write anything themselves. (Even the twice-published novelist in the group says she couldn’t write a song. Period.)

On the drive home from rehearsal, the hook line and tune for a song popped into my head, along with the idea for a second song. By bedtime, I had worked out the chorus and the structure for first one. And the next morning, I opened up a google doc and wrote it. It took only a couple of hours to compose, tweak and record a stripped-down version of it. I emailed an mp3 of that recording to the rest of the group and was thrilled that they really like it!

Wanna see the lyrics?

Who am I kidding? This is a writing site, so of course you do!

Here it is:

A Man Like That

I want a man who knows my hills and dales,

One who’ll keep my garden wet,

Who’ll chase the wolves and never fail

To give me puss a pet.



Have you ever met a man like that,

A man who’s made like that?

Who’ll plow your fields both day and night?

Have you ever met a man like that?


I want a man who sets my soul on fire,

A man with heaven’s keys,

Who gives new meaning to “oh, god!”

And who brings me to my knees.



Have you ever met a man like that,

A man who’s made like that?

With an angel’s smile and a devil’s touch?

Have you ever met a man like that?


I want a man to tower over me,

Who is masterfully built.

A solid man who’ll stand the test of time,

With calves to rock a kilt.



Have you ever met a man like that?

A man who’s made like that?

With shoulders you can prop your feet up on?

Have you ever met a man like that?


I want a man who can take the heat

Who will stoke my forge and fire,

Who pounds my metal hot and sweet,

And shapes my heart’s desire.



Have you ever met a man like that?

A man who’s made like that?

A man who knows just when to strike?

Have you ever met a man like that?


You can spend your life in drudgery

Feeling lonely, sad or fat.

But you’ll never see who’s right in front of you.

No, you’ll never meet a man like that.


(final chorus)

So lift your head and fluff your girls,

Sing and dance and laugh.

Give the game of life a loving whirl.

Don’t you know a man likes that?

Don’t you know we all like that?

© 2014 Toni Finley All Rights Reserved

Once we record it (we haven’t even rehearsed it yet, although we will tonight) and post it somewhere (perhaps on youtube), I’ll post a link to it, so you can hear how it turned out.

* I’ve linked the phrase to our page, but wanted to let you know that album is also available from a myriad of other sources, including iTunes, Grooveshark, and Bandcamp. In all, there are at least a dozen ways to listen to and/or purchase the album or its individual tracks, some of them free! If you should listen to any of it and want to share your thoughts or impressions, I’d love to hear them.

** Even as I said this to Ozzy and the group, I realized how stupid it was. Of course one plans to write songs! Isn’t that what song writers do every frakkin’ work day?!

I think I was just caught off guard by the question and was afraid to think of myself as an actual song writer, given my miniscule experience in that arena and the obligation that title would imply.

The truth is, if you don’t plan to write, that is, make time to sit down and write, you won’t get anything written. And the very act of making yourself available to write will shift your mental gears so you can make writing progress.

So, officially, let me state that I plan to write a total of six new wench songs (including the one above) for us to add to our repertoire for the 2015 Hoggetowne Medieval Faire. Which means I’ll be writing them throughout the summer and fall, so we can learn them and work them into our act before the year ends.

And with the second of those six songs very nearly finished, too, I have increasing confidence that I can do it!

*** Don’t ask me how, but I completely forgot I’d written the Lasses’ Birthday Ditty (previous post). Wow. And I didn’t record it anywhere, so the melody is lost. Perhaps I’ll get it back? If so, there’s new song no. 3! Woo-hoo!