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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleGipsy king
Roud No.1259
Collected FromCook, Henry
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 43
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 13th May, 1916, p 3, Part 30, No. 5: Williams, A: Folk songs of the Upper Thames, 1923, p 127, 128
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

I am the gipsy king,
And where is a king like me?
My trouble no dignities bring,
Nor no other is half so free;
In my own kingdom we have but one table,
All my subjects partake of its cheer;
We'll drink champagne while we're able,
Although we have plenty of beer.


For I am the gipsy king, Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
For I am the gipsy king, Ha! Ha!
For I am the gipsy king.

Verse 2

A King, and a true one am I,
No courtiers or ministers here,
I see everything with my own eye,
And hear everything with my own ear;
No conspiracy I apprehend,
Among brothers and sisters I roam,
We'll both keep guineas to spend,
And get drink when the measure is full.


Verse 3

I confess that I am but a man,
My feelings do pleasure me now,
I'm fond of my girl and my can,
And my jolly companions all round;
My subjects are kind to me,
They don't grudge me the largest glass,
Nor yet that I hold on my knee
This moment the prettiest lass.


Verse 4

No King do I envy nor Kaiser,
That sits on the golden throne;
I'll tell you the reason why, sir,
I've a sceptre and ball of my own;
To sit all night in a crowd,
I've a notion my ears it would freeze,
So I pull my old nightcap down,
And tipple and smoke at my ease.

Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS /FSUT: 'The two following fine, old songs [By thy sweet silver light, bonny moon] came from Arlington, which is really part of Bibury, the 'Cotswold Village' above mentioned [Congreve man]. The words I obtained of Henry Cook. Although he is eighty four years of age he is still a vigorous songster and could render at least a dozen pieces in a good tone of voice. In passing from point to point one naturally meets with the same songs though almost every village yields one or two fresh specimens. I heard of this piece once at Standlake, Oxfordshire.'

Note 2

In the chorus Lines 1 and 2 one repetition of Ha! Ha! is deleted.

In WGS and FSUT:

Verse 2, lines 6 and 7 are:

Among brothers and sisters I rule,
We both help to gain and to spend,

Verse 3 Line 2

My failings who please may know,

Verse 3 Line 4

And my jolly companions a row;

In Verse 4, Line 5 the text in both WGS and FSUT is:

To sit all night in a crown,

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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