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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleTwo jolly butchers
Roud No.17
Collected FromKing, Thomas
LocationCastle Eaton
CountyWiltshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 4 - Wiltshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Wt 344
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 29th January, 1916, p 2, Part 16, No. 2: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923, p 275, 276
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

It's of two jolly butchers, as I have heard them say,
Who started out from London upon a certain day,
As they were riding along the road, as fast as they could ride -
"Oh, stop your horse," said Johnson, "for I heard a woman cry."

Verse 2

"I will not stop," said Wilson, "I will not stop," said he,
"I will not stop," said Wilson, "for robbed we shall be."
Then Johnson he got off his horse and searched the woods around,
He found a naked woman with her hair pinned to the ground.

Verse 3

"How came you here?" said Johnson, "How came you here fast bound?
How came you here stark naked, with your hair pinned to the ground?"
"They whipped me, they stripped me, my arms and legs they bound,
They left me here stark naked with my hair pinned to the ground."

Verse 4

Then Johnson being a valiant man, and a man of courage bold,
He took the coat all off his back to keep her from the cold;
Then Johnson being a valiant man, and a man of valiant mind,
He wrapped his coat around her and took her up behind.

Verse 5

As they were riding along the road, as fast as they could ride,
She put her fingers to her lips and gave three dreadful cries;
Then up stepped three young swaggering blades, with staffs all in their hand,
A-riding up to Johnson and bidding him to stand.

Verse 6

"I'll stand, I'll stand," said Johnson, "I'll stand, I'll stand," said he,
"For never was I in all my life afraid of any three."
Then one of them he quickly slew, and the woman he did not mind,
But she drew a knife all from his side and ripped him up behind.

Verse 7

"I must fall, I must fall," said Johnson, "I must fall upon the ground,
It was this wicked woman that gave me my death wound;
And she shall be hung in iron chains for what she has done,
For she's murdered the finest butcher that ever the sun shined on."
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: WGS: 'This favourite of the oldest of the old men of the Thames valley I have often met with. The variations are many, but unimportant. At Standlake, Oxfordshire, the first verse mentioned three butchers instead of two. Obtained of Thomas King, Castle Eaton, who recently died in his 99th year.'

Williams, Alfred: FSUT: 'This favourite of the aged men of the Thames valley I have often met with. The variations are many, but unimportant. Obtained of Thomas King, Castle Eaton. Also heard at Standlake, Oxfordshire.'

Note 2

The manuscript is missing from the file. A note states that there were eight verses, one from Standlake, the first.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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