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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleBroken down gentleman
Roud No.383
Collected FromHambidge, Charles
LocationBuscot
CountyBerkshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSHC 2598/72 Manuscript of A Cotswold Ploughing Match and other folk songs included in Folk Songs of the Upper Thames
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 8th January, 1916, p 2, Part 13, No. 11: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 87, 88
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

When I was young, in my youthful days,
About four and twenty years old,
I spent my time in vanity,
Along with the ladies so bold.

Verse 2

I wore the ravels all round my wrist,
And a cane all in my hand;
No farmer’s son would I accept,
Not one in all the land.

Verse 3

I kept a pack of good hounds, my boys,
And servants to wait upon me,
And I did intend my money to spend,
And that you can plainly see.

Verse 4

I kept a coach and six bay horses,
And hangers all round about,
A golden tassel on each horse’s head,
Just ready for me to drive out.

Verse 5

I steered my coach to Ipswich town,
Horse racing for to see,
And there I spend a thousand pound
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS / FSUT: ‘Formerly a favourite throughout the Thames villages. At Wanborough, Wiltshire, it was sung by Timothy Tassel, the crippled blacksmith. I obtained my copy of Charles Hambridge, Buscot, Berkshire.’

Note 2

The original manuscript is found at WSHC 2598/77 and only contains verses 1 – 5 which ends at line 3. The usual citation for this song is: WSHC: 2598/36 Packet 1 – Indexes, lecture notes, Berkshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Bk 2. The above text is taken from the original which is the citation given above.

Note 3

The song as published in FSUT follows:

Verse 1

When I was young, in my youthful days,
About four and twenty years old,
I spent my time in vanity,
Along with the ladies so bold.

Verse 2

I wore the ravels all round my wrist,
And a cane all in my hand;
No farmer’s son would I accept,
Not one in all the land.

Verse 3

I kept a pack of good hounds, my boys,
And servants to wait upon me,
And I did intend my money to spend,
And that you can plainly see.

Verse 4

I kept a coach and six bay horses,
And hangers all round about,
A golden tassel on each horse’s head,
Just ready for me to drive out.

Verse 5

I steered my coach to Ipswich town,
Horse racing for to see,
And there I spend a thousand pound
In the light of that very next day.

Verse 6

I steered my coach back home again,
My traps they did run small;
Now I am a broken- down gentleman,
And that’s the worst of it all.

Verse 7

The landlord he came to my house,
And bailies he brought three,
He stole away my coach and six,
And swore he would have me.

Verse 8

My wife she did most pitiful look,
My children round me cried,
To think that I in prison should lie,
Until the day I died.


Note 4

The remainder of the sheet contains the words of Pressed off to war which by comparison with a version printed in the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard is probably a fragment of the manuscript thought to be lost.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2014.

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