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 Woodcutter (Final version!)
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 boys, 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 thathis soul in heaven may rest That all his works may prosper whatever he takes in hand For we are all his servants and all at his command. 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
He had four feet to walk Sir, he had four feet to stand, And every foot he had, Sir, did cover and acre of land.
The horns that grew on his head, Sir, they reached 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!
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!
The Loyal Lover Collected by Lucy Broadwood
I'll weave my love a garland, It shall be dressed so fine, I'll set it round with roses, With lillies, pinks and thyme. And I'll present it to my love when he comes home from sea. For I love my love and I love my love, Because my love loves me.
I wish I were an arrow, That sped into the air, To seek him as a sparrow, And if he was not there, How quickly I'd become a fish To search the raging sea. For I love my love and I love my love, Because my love loves me.
I would I were a reaper, I'd seek him in the corn. I would I were a keeper, I'd hunt him with my horn. I'd blow a blast when found at last Beneath the greenwood tree. For I love my love and I love my love Because my love loves me.
The False Knight is one of England's oldest folk songs. It may have originated during the time of the English Civil War. There is a story of child apprentices being given the choice between joining the King's army or death - they chose death. The King - it is said - was so moved, he ordered their release. So strong was the loyalty of these teenage soldiers to the rebel cause. The song certainly has a Puritan feel about it.
But it could be older than the seventeenth century. Another variant of the song is called The Outlandish Knight, literally meaning 'the knight from outside our land." Taken literally, this could be understood as a knight from a country hostile to England, such as France or Turkey; or it could also be explained as a mataphor for the Devil.
There is a very old device in English folk song and folklore of the Devil coming in disguise, intent on luring the Godly and true into hell, by asking them questions they cannot answer. But in every instance - as with the child in the song - the Devil is rebutted and exposed and his fiendish intentions are dashed by the honesty and goodness of his intended victim.
In this time of great adversity, the song may still speak to us, encouraging us to stand firm in the face of a daunting and frightening illness; yet despite the danger, we can still prevail.