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Oak, Ash and Thorn

Word count: 4052

Song Cycle

Show the texts alone (bare mode).

1. Oak, ash and thorn [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


Set by by Peter Bellamy (b. 1944), published 1971, London, Robbins Music Corp.

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Of all the trees that grow so fair,
Old England to adorn,
Greater are none beneath the Sun,
Than Oak and Ash and Thorn.
Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs
(All of a Midsummer morn)!
Surely we sing no little thing,
In Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Oak of the Clay lived many a day,
Or ever Aeneas began;
Ash of the Loam was a lady at home,
When Brut was an outlaw man;
Thorn of the Down saw New Troy Town
(From which was London born);
Witness hereby the ancientry
Of Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Yew that is old in churchyard mould,
He breedeth a mighty bow;
Alder for shoes do wise men choose,
And beech for cups also.
But when ye have killed, and your bowl is spilled,
And your shoes are clean outworn,
Back ye must speed for all that ye need,
To Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Ellum she hateth mankind, and waiteth
Till every gust be laid,
To drop a limb on the head of him
That anyway trusts her shade:
But whether a lad be sober or sad,
Or mellow with ale from the horn,
He will take no wrong when he lieth along
'Neath Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight,
Or he would call it a sin;
But - we have been out in the woods all night,
A-conjuring Summer in!
And we bring you news by word of mouth -
Good news for cattle and corn -
Now is the Sun come up from the South,
With Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs
(All of a Midsummer morn)!
England shall bide till Judgement Tide,
By Oak and Ash and Thorn!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. King Henry VIII and the Shipwrights [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


Set by by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist , published 1971, London, Robbins Music Corp.

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Harry, our King in England, from London town is gone
And comen to Hamull on the Hoke in the Countie of Suthampton.
For there lay the Mary of the Tower, his ship of war so strong, 
And he would discover, certaynely, if his shipwrights did him wrong.

He told not none of his setting forth, nor yet where he would go,
(But only my Lord of Arundel) and meanly did he show, 
In an old jerkin and patched hose that no man might him mark.
With his frieze hood and cloak above, he looked like any clerk.

He was at Hamull on the Hoke about the hour of the tide, 
And saw the Mary haled into dock, the winter to abide, 
With all her tackle and habilaments which are the King his own;
But then ran on his false shipwrights and stripped her to the bone.

They heaved the main-mast overboard, that was of a trusty tree,
And they wrote down it was spent and lost by force of weather at sea.
But they sawen it into planks and strakes as far as it might go, 
To maken beds for their own wives and little children also.

There was a knave called Slingawai, he crope beneath the deck,
Crying: " Good felawes, come and see!	The ship is nigh a wreck!
For the storm that took our tall main-mast, it blew so fierce and fell,
Alack! it hath taken the kettles and pans, and this brass pott as well l"

With that he set the pott on his head and hied him up the hatch,
While all the shipwrights ran below to find what they might snatch;
All except Bob Brygandyne and he was a yeoman good.
He caught Slingawai round the waist and threw him on to the mud.

"I have taken plank and rope and nail, without the King his leave,
After the custom of Portesmouth, but I will not suffer a thief.
Nay, never lift up thy hand at me – there's no clean hands in the trade.
Steal in measure," quo' Brygandyne. " There's measure in all things made!" 

"Gramercy, yeoman!" said our King. "Thy council liketh me."
And he pulled a whistle out of his neck and whistled whistles three.
Then came my Lord of Arundel pricking across the down, 
And behind him the Mayor and Burgesses of merry Suthampton town.

They drew the naughty shipwrights up, with the kettles in their hands,
And bound them round the forecastle to wait the King's commands.
But " Sith ye have made your beds," said the King, " ye needs must lie thereon.
For the sake of your wives and little ones – felawes, get you gone!"

When they had beaten Slingawai, out of his own lips
Our King appointed Brygandyne to be Clerk of all his ships.
"Nay, never lift up thy hands to me – there's no clean hands in the trade.
But steal in measure," said Harry our King. "There's measure in all things made!" 

God speed the Mary of the Tower, the Sovereign, and Grace Dieu,
The Sweepstakes and the Mary Fortune, and the Henry of Bristol too !
All tall ships that sail on the sea, or in our harbours stand,
That they may keep measure with Harry our King and peace in Engeland ! 


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Sir Richard's Song [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


Set by by Peter Bellamy (b. 1944), published 1971, London, Robbins Music Corp.

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I followed my Duke ere I was a lover,
To take from England fief and fee;
But now this game is the other way over -
But now England hath taken me!

I had my horse, my shield and banner,
And a boy's heart, so whole and free;
But now I sing in another manner -
But now England hath taken me!

As for my Father in his tower,
Asking news of my ship at sea;
He will remember his own hour -
Tell him England hath taken me!

As for my Mother in her bower,
That rules my Father so cunningly;
She will remember a maiden's power -
Tell her England hath taken me!

As for my Brother in Rouen city,
A nimble and naughty page is he;
But he will come to suffer and pity -
Tell him England hath taken me!

As for my little Sister waiting
In the pleasant orchards of Normandie;
Tell her youth is the time of mating -
Tell her England hath taken me!

As for my Comrades in camp and highway,
That lift their eyebrows scornfully;
Tell them their way is not my way -
Tell them England hath taken me!

Kings and Princes and Barons famed,
Knights and Captains in your degree;
Hear me a little before I am blamed -
Seeing England hath taken me!

Howso great man's strength be reckoned,
There are two things he cannot flee;
Love is the first, and Death is the second -
And Love, in England, hath taken me!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Our fathers of old [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


Set by by Peter Bellamy (b. 1944), published 1971, London, Robbins Music Corp.

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         Excellent herbs had our fathers of old --
           Excellent herbs to ease their pain --
         Alexanders and Marigold,
          Eyebright, Orris, and Elecampane --
         Basil, Rocket, Valerian, Rue,
           ( Almost singing themselves they run)
        Vervain, Dittany, Call-me-to-you--
            Cowslip, Melilot, Rose of the Sun.
            Anything green that grew out of the mould
            Was an excellent herb to our fathers of old.

          Wonderful tales had our fathers of old,
            Wonderful tales of the herbs and the stars --
         The Sun was Lord of the Marigold,
           Basil and Rocket belonged to Mars.
        Pat as a sum in division it goes --
           (Every herb had a planet bespoke) --
       Who but Venus should govern the Rose?
          Who but Jupiter own the Oak?
              Simply and gravely the facts are told
              In the wonderful books of our fathers of old.

   Wonderful little, when all is said,
     Wonderful little our fathers knew.
   Half their remedies cured you dead--
     Most of their teaching was quite untrue --
   "Look at the stars when  a patient is  ill.
      (Dirt has nothing to do with disease),
   Bleed and blister as much as you will,
     Bister and bleed him as oft as you please."
      Whence enormous and manifold
       Errors were made by our fathers of old.

  Yet when the sickness was sore in the land,
     And neither planets nor herbs assuaged,
  They took their lives in their lancet-hand
    And, oh, what a wonderful war they waged!
  Yes, when the crosses were chalked on the door --
     (Yes, when the terrible dead-cart rolled! )
  Excellent courage our fathers bore --
     None too learned, but nobly bold
     Into the fight went our fathers of old.

If it be certain, as Galen says --
  And sage Hippocrates holds as much --
"That those afflicted by doubts and dismays
  Are mightily helped by a dead man's touch,"
Then, be good to us, stars above!
  Then, be good to us, herbs below!
We are afflicted by what we can prove,
  We are distracted by what we know.
             So-ah, so!
   Down from your heaven or up from your mould
   Send us the hearts of our Fathers of old!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. A three-part song [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


Set by by Peter Bellamy (b. 1944), published 1971, London, Robbins Music Corp.

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I'm just in love with all these three,
The Weald an' the Marsh an' the Down countrie;
Nor I don't know which I love the most,
The Weald or the Marsh or the white chalk coast!


I've buried my heart in a ferny hill,
Twix' a liddle low shaw an' a great high gill.
Oh, hop-bine yaller an' wood-smoke blue,
I reckon you'll keep her middling true!


I've loosed my mind for to out an' run
On a Marsh that was old when Kings begun:
Oh, Romney level an' Brenzett reeds,
I reckon you know what my mind needs!


I've given my soul to the Southdown grass,
An' sheep-bells tinkled where you pass.
Oh, Firle an' Ditchling an' sails at sea,
I reckon you keep my soul for me!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Cold iron [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


Set by by Peter Bellamy (b. 1944), published 1971, London, Robbins Music Corp.

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Gold is for the mistress -- silver for the maid --
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade."
"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all."

So he made rebellion 'gainst the King his liege,
Camped before his citadel and summoned it to siege.
"Nay!" said the cannoneer on the castle wall,
"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- shall be master of you all!"

Woe for the Baron and his knights so strong,
When the cruel cannon-balls laid 'em all along;
He was taken prisoner, he was cast in thrall,
And Iron -- Cold Iron -- was master of it all!

Yet his King spake kindly (ah, how kind a Lord!)
"What if I release thee now and give thee back thy sword?"
"Nay!" said the Baron, "mock not at my fall,
For Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of men all."

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown --
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown."
"As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small,
For Iron -- Cold Iron -- must be master of men all!"

Yet his King made answer (few such Kings there be!)
"Here is Bread and here is Wine -- sit and sup with me.
Eat and drink in Mary's Name, the whiles I do recall
How Iron -- Cold Iron -- can be master of men all!"

He took the Wine and blessed it. He blessed and brake the Bread.
With His own Hands He served Them, and presently He said:
"See! These Hands they pierced with nails, outside My city wall,
Show Iron -- Cold Iron -- to be master of men all."

"Wounds are for the desperate, blows are for the strong.
Balm and oil for weary hearts all cut and bruised with wrong.
I forgive thy treason -- I redeem thy fall --
For Iron -- Cold Iron -- must be master of men all!"

"Crowns are for the valiant -- sceptres for the bold!
Thrones and powers for mighty men who dare to take and hold!"
"Nay!" said the Baron, kneeling in his hall,
"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of men all!
Iron out of Calvary is master of men all!"


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. Frankie's trade [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


Set by by Peter Bellamy (b. 1944), published 1971, London, Robbins Music Corp.

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  Old Horn to All Atlantic said:
      (A-hay O! To me O!)
  "Now where did Frankie learn his trade?
  For he ran me down with a three-reef mains'I."
      (All round the Horn!)

  Atlantic answered:--"Not from me!
  You'd better ask the cold North Sea,
  For he ran me down under all plain canvas."
      (All round the Horn!)

  The North Sea answered: -- "He's my man,
  For he came to me when he began--
  Frankie Drake in an open coaster.
      (All round the Sands!)

  "I caught him young and I used him sore,
  So you never shall startle Frankie more,
  Without capsizing Earth and her waters.
      (All round the Sands!)
            
  "I did not favour him at all.
  I made him pull and I made him haul--
  And stand his trick with the common sailors.
      (All round the Sands!)

  "I froze him stiff and I fogged him blind,
  And kicked him home with his road to find
  By what he could see in a three-day snow-storm.
      (All round the Sands!)

  "I learned him his trade o' winter nights,
  'Twixt Mardyk Fort and Dunkirk lights,
  On a five-knot tide with the forts a-firing.
      (All round the Sands!)

  "Before his beard began to shoot,
  I showed him the length of the Spaniard's foot--
  And I reckon he clapped the boot on it later.
      (All round the Sands!)

  "If there's a risk which you can make,
  That's worse than he was used to take
  Nigh every week in the way of his business;
      (All round the Sands!)

  "If there's a trick that you can try,
  Which he hasn't met in time gone by,
  Not once or twice, but ten times over;
      (All round the Sands!)

  "If you can teach him aught that's new,
      (A-hay O! To me O!)
  I'll give you Bruges and Niewport too,
  And the ten tall churches that stand between
      Storm along, my gallant Captains!
      (All round the Horn!)


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. The Ballad of Minepit Shaw [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


Set by by Peter Bellamy (b. 1944), published 1971 [male voice and guitar], London, Robbins Music Corp.

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About the time that taverns shut
And men can buy no beer,
Two lads went up to the keepers' hut
To steal Lord Pelham's deer.

Night and the liquor was in their heads -
They laughed and talked no bounds,
Till they waked the keepers on their beds
And the keepers loosed the hounds.

They had killed a hart, they had killed a hind,
Ready to carry away,
When they heard a whimper down the wind
And they heard a bloodhound bay.

They took and ran across the fern,
Their crossbows in their hand,
Till they met a man with a green lantern
That called and bade 'em stand.

"What are ye doing, O Flesh and Blood,
And what's your foolish will,
That you must break into Minepit Wood
And wake the Folk of the Hill?"

"Oh, we've broke into Lord Pelham's park,
And killed Lord Pelham's deer,
And if ever you heard a little dog bark
You'll know why we come here.

"We ask you let us go our way,
As fast as we can flee,
For if ever you heard a bloodhound bay
You'll know how pressed we be."

"Oh, lay your crossbows on the bank
And drop the knives from your hand,
And though the hounds be at your flank
I'll save you where you stand!"

They laid their crossbows on the bank,
They threw their knives in the wood,
And the ground before them opened and sank
And saved 'em where they stood.

"Oh, what's the roaring in our ears
That strikes us well-nigh dumb?"
"Oh, that is just how things appears
According as they come."

"What are the stars before our eyes
That strike us well-nigh blind?"
"Oh, that is just how things arise
According as you find."

"And why's our bed so hard to the bones
Excepting where it's cold?"
"Oh, that's because it is precious stones
Excepting where 'tis gold.

"Think it over as you stand,
For I tell you without fail,
If you haven't got into Fairyland
You're not in Lewes Gaol."

All night long they thought of it,
And, come the dawn, they saw
They'd tumbled into a great old pit,
At the bottom of Minepit Shaw.

And the keeper's hound had followed 'em close,
And broke her neck in the fall;
So they picked up their knives and their crossbows
And buried the dog. That's all.

But whether the man was a poacher too
Or a Pharisee' so bold -
I reckon there's more things told than are true.
And more things true than are told. 


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. Poor honest men [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


Set by by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist , published 1971, London, Robbins Music Corp.

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Your jar of Virginny
Will cost you a guinea,
Which you reckon too much by five shillings or ten;
But light your churchwarden
And judge it according,
When I've told you the troubles of poor honest men.

From the Capes of the Delaware,
As you are well aware,
We sail which tobacco for England-but then,
Our own British cruisers,
They watch us come through, sirs,
And they press half a score of us poor honest men!

Or if by quick sailing
(Thick weather prevailing )
We leave them behind ( as we do now and then)
We are sure of a gun from
Each frigate we run from,
Which is often destruction to poor honest men!

Broadsides the Atlantic
We tumble short-handed,
With shot-holes to plug and new canvas to bend;
And off the Azores,
Dutch, Dons and Monsieurs
Are waiting to terrify poor honest men.

Napoleon's embargo
Is laid on all cargo
Which comfort or aid to King George may intend;
And since roll, twist and leaf,
Of all comforts is chief,
They try for to steal it from poor honest men!
With no heart for fight,
We take refuge in flight,
But fire as we run, our retreat to defend;
Until our stern-chasers
Cut up her fore-braces,
And she flies off the wind from us poor honest men!

'Twix' the Forties and Fifties,
South-eastward the drift is,
And so, when we think we are making Land's End
Alas, it is Ushant                                    
With half the King's Navy
Blockading French ports against poor honest men!

But they may not quit station
(Which is our salvation )
So swiftly we stand to the Nor'ard again;
And finding the tail of
A homeward-bound convoy,    
We slip past the Scillies like poor honest men.

'Twix' the Lizard and Dover,
We hand our stuff over,
Though I may not inform how we do it, nor when.
But a light on each quarter,
Low down on the water,
Is well understanded by poor honest men.

Even then we have dangers,
From meddlesome strangers,
Who spy on our business and are not content
To take a smooth answer,
Except with a handspike  .  .  .
And they say they are murdered by poor honest men!

To be drowned or be shot
Is our natural lot,
Why should we, moreover, be hanged in the end---
After all our great pains
For to dangle in chains
As though we were smugglers, not poor honest men?


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

10. Philadelphia [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


Set by by Peter Bellamy (b. 1944), published 1971, London, Robbins Music Corp.

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If you're off to Philadelphia in the morning,
  You mustn't take my stories for a guide.
There's little left, indeed, of the city you will read of,
  And all the folk I write about have died.
Now few will understand if you mention Talleyrand,
  Or remember what his cunning and his skill did;
And the cabmen at the wharf do not know Count Zinzendorf,
  Nor the Church in Philadelphia he builded.

    It is gone, gone, gone with lost Atlantis,
    (Never say I didn't give you warning).       
    In Seventeen Ninety-three 'twas there for all to see,
    But it's not in Philadelphia this morning.

If you're off to Philadelphia in the morning,
  You mustn't go by anything I've said.
Bob Bicknell's Southern Stages have been laid aside for ages,
  But the Limited will take you there instead.
Toby Hirte can't be seen at One Hundred and Eighteen
  North Second Street--no matter when you call;
And I fear you'll search in vain for the wash-house down the lane
  Where Pharaoh played the fiddle at the ball.

    It is gone, gone, gone with Thebes the Golden,
   (Never say I didn't give you warning).
    In Seventeen Ninety-four 'twas a famous dancing floor --
     But it's not in Philadelphia this morning.

If you're off to Philadelphia in the morning,
  You must telegraph for rooms at some Hotel.
You needn't try your luck at Epply's or "The Buck,"
  Though the Father of his Country liked them well.
It is not the slightest use to inquire for Adam Goos,
  Or to ask where Pastor Meder has removed--so
You must treat as out of date the story I relate
   Of the Church in Philadelphia he loved so.

      He is gone, gone, gone with Martin Luther
      (Never say I didn't give you warning)
      In Seventeen Ninety-five  he was, ( rest his soul! ) alive.
      But he's not in Philadelphia this morning.

 If you're off to Philadelphia this morning,
   And wish to prove the truth of what I say,                  
 I pledge my word you'll find the pleasant land behind
   Unaltered since Red Jacket rode that way.
 Still the pine-woods scent the noon; still the catbird sings his tune;
   Still autumn sets the maple-forest blazing;
 Still the  grape-vine through the dusk flings  her  soul-compelling musk;
   Still the fire-flies in the corn make night amazing!                 
   They are there, there, there with Earth immortal
   ( Citizens, I give you friendly warning ).
   The thins that truly last when men and times have passed,
   They are all in Pennsylvania this morning!                 


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

11. Brookland Road [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


Set by by Peter Bellamy (b. 1944), published 1971 [unaccompanied male voice], London, Robbins Music Corp.

See other settings of this text.


I was very well pleased with what I knowed,
I reckoned myself no fool --
Till I met with a maid on the Brookland Road,
That turned me back to school. 

 Low down -- low down!
 Where the liddle green lanterns shine --
 O maids, I've done with 'ee all but one,
 And she can never be mine! 

'Twas right in the middest of a hot June night,
With thunder duntin' round,
And I see her face by the fairy-light
That beats from off the ground.

She only smiled and she never spoke,
She smiled and went away;
But when she'd gone my heart was broke
 And my wits was clean astray.

O, stop your ringing and let me be --
Let be, O Brookland bells!
You'll ring Old Goodman out of the sea,
Before I wed one else!

Old Goodman's Farm is rank sea-sand,
And was this thousand year;
But it shall turn to rich plough-land
Before I change my dear.

O, Fairfield Church is water-bound
From autumn to the spring;
But it shall turn to high hill-ground
Before my bells do ring.

O, leave me walk on Brookland Road,
In the thunder and warm rain --
O, leave me look where my love goed,
And p'raps I'll see her again!

 Low down -- low down!
 Where the liddle green lanterns shine --
 O maids, I've done with 'ee all but one,
 And she can never be mine! 


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

12. The looking-glass [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


Set by by Peter Bellamy (b. 1944), published 1971, London, Robbins Music Corp.

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Queen Bess was Harry’s daughter. Stand forward partners all!
In ruff and stomacher and gown
She danced King Philip down-a-down,
And left her shoe to show ‘twas true –
(The very tune I’m playing you)
In Norgem at Brickwall!

The Queen was in her chamber, and she was middling old.
Her petticoat was satin, and her stomacher was gold.
Backwards and forwards and sideways did she pass,
Making up her mind to face the cruel looking-glass.
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass
As comely or as kindly or as young as what she was!

Queen Bess was Harry’s daughter. Now hand your partners all!

The Queen was in her chamber, a-combing of her hair.
There came Queen Mary’s spirit and It stood behind her char,
Singing “Backwards and forwards and sideways may you pass, 
But I will stand behind you till you face the looking-glass.
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass
As lovely or unlucky or as lonely as I was!”

Queen Bess was Harry’s daughter. Now turn your partners all!

The Queen was in her chamber, a-weeping very sore.
There came Lord Leicester’s spirit and It scratched upon the door,
Singing “Backwards and forwards and sideways may you pass, 
But I will walk beside you till you face the looking-glass.
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass,
As hard and unforgiving or as wicked as you was!”

Queen Bess was Harry’s daughter. Now kiss your partners all!

The Queen was in her chamber, her sins were on her head.
She looked the spirits up and down and statelily she said: -
“Backwards and forwards and sideways though I’ve been,
Yet I am Harry’s daughter and I am England’s Queen!”
And she saw her day was over and she saw her beauty pass
In the cruel looking-glass, that can always hurt a lass
More hard than any ghost there is or any man there was!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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