Songs & Words

The Winged Horse 

Composed by Hilaire Belloc

It’s ten years ago today you turned me out o’ doors,

To cut my feet on flinty lands and stumble down the shores, 

And I thought about the all-in-all, Oh more than I can tell! 

But I caught a horse to ride upon and I rode him very well,

He had flame behind the eyes of him and wings upon his side,

AND I RIDE AND I RIDE!

I rode him out of Wantage and I rode him up the hill,

And there I saw the beacon in the morning standing still,

Inkpen and Hackpen and southward and away,

High through the middle airs in the strengthening of the day,

And there I saw the channel glint and England in her pride,

AND I RIDE AND I RIDE!

And once a-top of Lamborne down toward the hill of Clere,

I saw the host of heaven in rank and Michael with his spear,

And Turpin out of Gascony and Charlemagne the Lord, 

And Roland of the Marches with his hand upon his sword

For the time he should have need of it and forty more beside,

AND I RIDE AND I RIDE!

For you that took the all-in-all the things you left were three,

A loud voice for singing and keen eyes to see,

And a spouting well of joy within, that never yet was dried,

AND I RIDE!

The Delicate Flower

Written and composed by Hilaire Belloc

When I was not much older than Cupid, but bolder,
I asked of his mother in passing her bower,
What it was in their blindness men asked of her kindness,
And she said it was naught but a delicate flower,
Oh a delicate, delicate, delicate flower.

This morning you kissed me, by noon you’d dismissed me
As though such great things were the jest of one hour,
And you left me still wondering if I were not too blundering,
To deal with that delicate, delicate flower,
‘Tis such a delicate, delicate, delicate flower.

For if that’s the complexion of ladies affection
I must needs be a fool to remain in their power,
But there’s that in me burning which brings me returning
To beg for that delicate, delicate flower,
To implore for that delicate, delicate, delicate flower,

Oats and Beans (two versions)

Collected by Lucy Broadwood

Oats and beans and barley grows,
As you and I and anyone knows,
Oats and beans and barley grows
As you and I and anyone knows,
Waiting for a partner.

First the farmer sows his seed,
Then he stands and takes his ease,
Stamps his feet and claps his hands
And turns around to view the land.
Waiting for a partner.

Now you’re married you must obey,
Must be true in all you say,
Must be kind and must be good,
And help your wife to chop the wood.
Waiting for a partner.

Oats and beans and barley grows,
As you and I and anyone knows,
Oats and beans and barley grows,
As you and I or anyone knows,
Waiting for a partner.

The Jolly Woodcutter (Harvest Supper song)

Collected by Lucy Broadwood

Here’s a health unto the jolly woodcutter who sits at home at ease
He takes his work a slight in hand, and leaves it when he please
He takes the withe and he winds it, he lays it on the ground
Around the faggot he binds it, drink round my boy, drink round.
Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, ’til it does come to me,
The longer we sit here and drink, the merrier we shall be!

Here’s a health unto the ploughman, who toils beneath the sun
He takes a ploughshare on his back, and sings for everyone
He treads the meadows gaily, whatever the weather may be
And takes his quart pot daily, a hearty drinker he.
Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, and see you do not spill
For if you do, you shall drink two, for that is our masters will.

Here’s a health unto the blacksmith, who swings his hammer fine
He has such strength at hand my boys, I wish as such were mine
His anvil rings a merry peal, sweet music for to hear,
Until the landlord calls him for drinking of strong beer.
Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, and see you do not spill
For if you do, you shall drink two, for that is our masters will.

Here’s a health unto our master, the founder of the feast
I wish him well with all my heart that his soul in heaven may rest
That all his works might prosper whatever he takes in hand
For we are all his servants and all at his command.
So drink boys drink, so drink boys drink, and see you do not spill
For if you do, you shall drink two, for that is our masters will.

And now we’ve drunk our master’s health, why should our missus go free
Why shouldn’t she go to heaven, to heaven as well as he?
She is the best provider, so broad as well as so tall
So take up your cup and sup it all up for it is your harvest home.
Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, and see you do not spill
For if you do, you shall drink two, for that is our masters will.

Our maid she would a hunting go, she’d never a horse to ride
She mounted on her master’s boar and spurred him in the side
Chink Chink Chink Chink, the bridle went, as she rode oe’r the down
So here’s unto our maidens’ health, drink round my boys drink round
Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, and see you do not spill
For if you do, you shall drink two, for that is our masters will.

Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, ’til it does come to me,
The longer we sit here and drink, the merrier we shall be!

His Hide is Covered with Hair

By Hilaire Belloc

The dog is a faithful intelligent friend,
But his hide is covered with hair.
The cat will inhabit the house ’til the end
But her hide is covered with hair,
The hide of the mammoth was covered with wool,
The hide of the porpoise is sleek and cool,
But you’ll find if you look at that gambolling fool
That his hide is covered with hair.

Chorus
Oh I thank my god for this at the least,
I was born in the west and not in the east
And he made me a human instead of a beast,
Who’s hide is covered with hair!

The cow in the pasture that chews the cud,
Her hide is covered with hair,
And even a horse of the barbary blood,
His hide is covered with hair.
The camel excels in a number of ways,
And travellers give him unlimited praise,
He can go without drinking for several days,
But his hide is covered with hair.

The bear of the forest that lives in a pit,
His hide is covered with hair,
The laughing hyena, in spite of his wit,
His hide is covered with hair.
The barbary ape and the chimpanzee,
The lion of Africa, verily he,
With his head like a wig and the tuft on his knee,
His hide is covered with hair.

I’ve Been To France

Drinking song collected by Lucy Broadwood

I’ve been to France and I’ve been to Dover,

Over, over, over and over,

Drink up your liqour and turn the horn over!

On A Winter’s Night

by Hilaire Belloc

On a winter’s night long time ago,
The bells ring loud and the bells ring low,
When high howled wind and down fell snow,
Carillon, Carilla.
Saint Joseph he and Nostre Dame,
Riding on an Ass full weary came,
From Nazareth into Bethlehem,
And the small child Jesus smile on you.

At Bethlehem Inn they stood before,
The bells ring less and the bells ring more,
The landlord bade them be gone from his door,
Carillon, Carilla.
‘Poor folk’ said he, ‘must lie where they may,
For the Duke ofJewry comes this way,
With all his train on a Christmas day.’
And the small child Jesus smile on you.

Poor folk that may my carol hear,
The bells ring single and the bells ring clear,
See God’s one child had hardest cheer,
Carilllon, Carilla.
Men grown hard on a Christmas morn,
The dumb beasts by and the babe folorn,
It was very, very cold when our Lord was born,
And the small child Jesus smile on you.

Now these were Jews as Jews must be,
The bells ring merry and the bells ring free,
But Christian men in a band are we,
Carillon, Carilla,
Empty we go and ill bedight,
Singing Noel on a winter’s night,
Give us to sup by the warm firelight,
And the small child Jesus smile on you.

The Derby Ram

collected by Lucy Broadwood

As I was going to Derby, Sir, 'twas on a summer's day,

I met the finest Ram, Sir, that ever was fed on hay.

Fol-lol-lay, fol-lol-lay.

 

It had four feet to walk on, Sir, it had four feet to stand,

And every foot it had, Sir, did cover and acre of land.

 

The horns that grew on its head, Sir, they grew up to the sky,

And the eagles did build their nests there, for I heard the young ones cry.

 

The backbone of this ram, Sir, made the mainmast of a ship,

And that did carry the finest sail in all the British fleet.

 

The tail was fifty yards, Sir, as near as I can tell,

And it was sent to Rome, Sir, to ring St Peter's bell.

 

All the old women in Derby came begging for his ears,

To make them a leather apron to last them forty years.

 

All the lads in Derby came begging for his blether,

To punch up and down all Derby streets instead of punching leather.

 

The singers of this song Sir, are handsome, brave and strong,

The finest group of singers that ever sang a song!

 

Fol-lol-lay, fol-lol-lay,

Fol-lol-lay, fol-lol-lay!

 

 

Additional seasonal verse:

So now my song is ended, I've nothing more to say,

If you please will you give us a Christmas box, and then we'll go away!

The Nobleman and the Thresherman

Collected by Lucy Broadwood

A Nobleman there lived in the village of late,
There was a poor Thresherman, his family was great,
He had got seven children and most of them were small,
He’d nothing but hard labour for to sustain them all.

This Nobleman he met with this poor man one day,
And unto this poor Thresherman these very words did say;
‘You are a poor Thresherman, I know it to be true,
How do you get your living so well as you now do?’

‘Well, sometimes I do reap and sometimes I do sow,
And sometimes I a-hedging and a ditching too do go,
There’s nothing goes amiss with me, my harrow or my plough,
And so I get my living by the sweat of my own brow’.

‘And when my day of work is done I go home late at night,
And in my wife and family I take a great delight,
My children come around me with their prattle and their toys,
And that is all the pleasure that a poor man enjoys.’

‘My wife she is willing to join me in the yoke,
We live like unto turtle doves and ne’er a one provoke,
These times are very bad and we are very poor,
But still we get our living and we keep cold from the door.’

‘You are an honest fellow and you speak well of your wife,
And you shall both live happy all the last part of your life,
Here’s forty acres of good land I’ll freely give to thee
For to maintain your wife and self and your sweet family.’

God bless all such good farmers who live in our dear land,
I wish of them with all my heart their souls in heav’n may stand,
And may the rich a pattern take from this good Nobleman,
That they may follow after him as quickly as they can.

The Turtle Dove Collected from the landlord of The Plough in Rusper

 

Fare thee well, my dear, I must be gone,
And leave you for a while;
If I roam away I'll come back again,
Though I roam ten thousand miles, my dear,
Though I roam ten thousand miles.

The sea will never run dry, my dear,
Nor the rocks melt with the sun,
And I never will prove false to the one I love,
'Till all these things be done, my dear,
'Till all these things be done.

O yonder doth sit a little turtle dove,
Singing high on yon willow tree,
A-making a moan for the loss of his love,
As I will make for thee, my dear,
As I will make for thee.

Duke William
Composed by Hilaire Belloc

Duke William was a wench's son,
His granfer was a tanner!
He drank his cider from the tun
Which is the Norman manner.
His throne was made of Oak and Gold,
His bow-shaft of the yew,
That is the way the tale is told,
I doubt if it be true,
I doubt if it be true!

But what care I for him,
My tankard is full to the brim,
And I'll sing Elizabeth, Dorothy,
Margaret, Mary, Dorinda,
Persephone, Miriam,
Pegotty taut and trim,
Pegotty taut and trim!

The men that sailed to Normandy,
foul weather may they find.
For banging around in the waist of a ship
Was never to my mind.
They drink their rum in the glory hole
In quaking and in fear,
But a better man was left behind,
And he sits drinking beer,
He sits drinking beer!

But what care I for the swine?
They never were fellows of mine!
And I'll sing Elizabeth, Dorothy,
Margaret, Mary, Dorinda,
Persephone, Miriam, Pegotty,
Jezebel, Topsy, Andromeda,
Magdalen, Emily, Charity,
Agatha, Beatrice, Anna, Cecilia,
Maud, Cleopatra, Selene and Jessica,
Barbara stout and fine,
Barbara stout and fine!

 

Hilaire Belloc recordings

Despite the narrator stating that Belloc was born in Belgium, he was actually born in France. These recordings were made in 1932 when Belloc was 62

Tarentella

The Winged Horse

 

Ha’nacker Mill

 

The Islands