John Keats wrote this poem in the spring of 1818, when he was in Teignmouth with his brother, Tom. The poem fits in with a group of other poems of his, most notably "O Blush not so! O blush not so!" and "Where be ye going, you Devon maid?". Here we have a Keats who is playful, unconcerned with the future, and more than a little sexual. If Endymion was criticized for its loose moral values, then it's no wonder Keats did not choose to publish these.
In this poem, more so than the two mentioned above, one sees Keats' measure of women, one largely bred by inexperience. His women are routinely treated as either Goddess or Whore (this belonging to the second category). Not until the entrance of Fanny Brawne to his life do the women in his poetry seem three dimensional.
Over the Hill and Over the Dale
Over the hill and over the dale,
And over the bourn to Dawlish--
Where gingerbread wives have a scanty sale
And gingerbread nuts are smallish.
Rantipole Betty she ran down a hill
And kicked up her petticoats fairly;
Says I I'll be Jack if you will be Gill--
So she sat on the grass debonairly.
Here's somebody coming, here's somebody coming!
Says I 'tis the wind at a parley;
So without any fuss any hawing and humming
She lay on the grass debonairly.
Here's somebody here and here's somebody there!
Says I hold your tongue you young Gipsey;
So she held her tongue and lay plump and fair
And dead as a Venus tipsy.
O who wouldn't hie to a Dawlish fair,
O who wouldn't stop in a Meadow,
O who would not rumple the daisies there
And make the wild fern for a bed do!