From the recording GSCD007 Natural Invention

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"It embodies, in a faint degree, that mixture of passions, where bitterness and love, grief and contempt, mix and get the better of one another, as the colours do on a bit of shot-silk"
Josiah Shufflebotham, of Gowk's-Hall.

Josiah Shufflebotham was the pseudonym of radical agitator Thomas Doubleday, who is credited with learning the tune from a Newcastle street singer, (although the origin of the lyrics appear to be unknown) and who submitted the song to Blackwood's Magazine in November 1821.