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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleIsle of France
Roud No.1575
Collected FromHawkins, Arthur
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 28
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 1st May, 1916, p 3, Part 30, No. 4
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

The sun was fair and the clouds advanced,
And the convict came to the Isle of France;
All around his legs were a ring and chain,
And his country was of the shamrock green.

Verse 2

The coastguard waited all on the beach,
While the convict's boat was about to reach;
The convict's chains did so shine and spark,
That it shook the veins of the coastguard's heart.

Verse 3

The convict launched his little boat,
Upon the ocean with him to float;
The birds at night took their silent rest,
But the convict here has a wounded breast.

Verse 4

Then the coastguard came to the Isle of France,
And towards the convict did advance;
The tears from his eyes did fall like rain -
"I hear young man, you're of the shamrock green."

Verse 5

"I am a shamrock," the convict cried,
"That has been tossed on the ocean wide;
For being unruly I do declare,
I'm condemned a transport for seven long years."

Verse 6

When six of them were past and gone,
We were coming home to make up one;
When the stormy winds did so blow and roar,
That cast we were on a foreign shore.

Verse 7

Then the coastguard played a noble part,
And with some brandy cheered the convict's heart;
Although this night being far advanced,
To find a friend in the Isle of France.

"God bless the coastguard," the convict cried,
"He has saved my life from the ocean wide;
I'll drink his health in a flowing glass -
So here's success to the Isle of France."
Print Song Lyrics
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'This song I also obtained Ablington of Arthur Hawkins, a cottager, and it is interesting to learn that he too, contributed slightly to the making of 'A Cotswold Village'. Mr Hawkins knew two songs - the one here printed and Jim the carter's lad. Mr Gibbs wrote the copy of the latter from his recital and included it in his book. The 'Isle of France' is much the older and better of the two songs, though the other was the more popular, and suited Mr Gibbs purpose.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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