“Four Old Whores”

Alternate titles: “Three Old Whores”; “Three Old Whores from Mexico”; “Three Old Whores from Winnepeg”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1939
Keywords: bawdy bragging contest humorous lie nonballad whore
Found in: Australia Canada Britain(England,Scotland) US(MA,MW,NE,NW,So,SE,SW)


Two, three, or four whores, sometimes from Baltimore, Winnipeg, or Mexico, compare the size of their vaginas with extravagant boasts.


Technically, this is not a ballad in that it tells no story. The women merely top each other's boast. - EC

Legman, in _The Horn Book_ (pp. 414-415) connects this with "A Talk of Ten Wives on their Husbands' Ware," which occurs in the Porkington manuscript of about 1460 and waas pubished by Furnivall in 1871. on this basis he regards this as "the oldest surviving erotic folksong in English." But the only verse Legman quites is clearly modern, so the identification must be considered unproved. - RBW


  1. Cray, pp. 6-11, "Four Old Whores" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph-Legman I, pp. 121-123, "Four Old Whores" (3 texts, 1 tune)
  3. Logsdon 28, pp. 167-168, "All Night Long" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Roud #5666
  6. BI, EM006