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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleCopy boy
Roud No.1030
Collected FromTanner, Charles
LocationBampton
CountyOxfordshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleCroppy boy
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 207
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 15th January, 1916, p 2, Part 14, No. 10
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

It was early, early in the spring,
The birds did whistle and sweetly sing,
Changing their notes from tree to tree,
And the song they sang was, 'Old Ireland Free'.

Verse 2

It was early, early in the night,
The Yeoman Cavalry gave me a fright;
The Yeoman Cavalry was my downfall,
And taken was I by Lord Cornwall.

Verse 3

When I was standing at my father's door,
My brother William stood on the floor,
My sister Mary did grieve full sore,
My tender mother her grey locks tore.

Verse 4

Twas in the guardhouse where I was laid,
And in the parlour where I was tried;
My sentence passed, and my courage low,
And to Dungara I was forced to go.

Verse 5

My sister Mary she heard the express,
And ran downstairs in her morning dress:
"Five hundred guineas I would pay down,
To see my brother march through Wexford town."

Verse 6

As I was going up Wexford Hill,
Which did induce me to cry my fill;
I looked behind and I looked before,
But my tender mother I could see no more.

Verse 7

As I was walking down Wexford Street,
My own first cousin I chanced to meet;
My own first cousin did me annoy,
And for one burgala swore my life away.

Verse 8

When I was on the gallows high,
My aged father was standing by;
My aged father did me deny,
And the name he gave me was the Copy Boy.

All you good Christians that do pass by,
Pray drop one tear for the Copy Boy.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'This dates from about 1798, and refers to the rebellion in Ireland, which was effectively suppressed by the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Cornwallis, the Lord Cornwall in the second verse of the song. I obtained the copy in parts, of Charles Tanner, Bampton, and Shadrach Haydon, also now being at Bampton. Neither knew of the others' acquaintance with the song.'

Note 2

In the Ms two words are unclear but are clarified in the WGS they are clear.

In Verse 4, line 4 the unclear word is Dungara.

In Verse 7, line 4 the unclear word is burgala.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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