Author Topic: Add: The Hard Times of Old England


dmcg

Posted - 28 Jan 04 - 05:19 pm

Come all brother tradesmen that travel alone,
O, pray come and tell me where the trade is all gone,
Long time I have travelled and cannot find none,
And it's O, the hard times of old England,
In old England very hard times.

Provisions you buy at the shop it is true,
But if you've no money there's none there for you,
So what's a poor man and his family to do?
And it's O, the hard times of old England,
In old England very hard times.

If you go to a shop and you ask for a job
They will answer you there with a shake and a nod
That's enough to make a poor man turn out and rob,
And it's O, the hard times of old England,
In old England very hard times.

You will see the poor tradesmen a-walking the street
From morning to night for employment to seek,
And scarcely they have any shoes to their feet,
And it's O, the hard times of old England,
In old England very hard times.

Our soldiers and sailors have just come from war,
Been fighting for their King and their country sure,
Come home to be starved, better have stayed where they were,
And it's O, the hard times of old England,
In old England very hard times.

So now to conclude and to finish my song
Let us hope that these hard times they will not last long,
And I may soon have occasion to alter my song
And sing O, the good times of old England,
In old England very good times.





Source: Bob Copper, A Song For Every Season, CopperSongs, 1971


Notes:

From Jim Copper's songbook. See The Copper Family website.

Database entry is here.




Ed

Posted - 28 Jan 04 - 05:25 pm

Before Mr Happy beats me to it...

Hard Cheese of Old England
Les Barker

There's Cheddar and Cheshire and Lancashire too,
Leicester's bright orange and Stilton is blue.
It waxes so lyrical, what can you do but sing
Oh, the hard cheese of old England,
In old England, very hard cheese.

Derby's got green bits because of the sage,
And when it gets older, it's kept in a cage.
And what does it hum when it reaches this age but
Oh, the hard cheese of old England,
In old England, very hard cheese.

They say double Gloucester is twicest as nice,
They say double Gloucester, there, I've said it twice,
Its nice in potatoes, but nicest in mice, and sing
Oh, the hard cheese of old England,
In old England, very hard cheese.

Those Edam foreigners aren't worth a mention,
That old Gorgonzola's renowned for it stench and
His brother ??mile wrote novels in French and sing
Oh, the hard cheese of old England,
In old England, very hard cheese.

There's Swaledale and Wendsleydale, Rutland to add,
Shropshire and Cornish you may not have had,
It's not bad on salads, this ballad's not sad, and sing
Oh, the hard cheese of old England,
In old England, very hard cheese.

My young love said to me, my mother won't mind,
And my father won't slight you for your lack of rind,
No cheese grater love for his food hath mankind than
Oh, the hard cheese of old England,
In old England, very hard cheese




Mr Happy

Posted - 29 Jan 04 - 02:30 am

Drat!!




Pip Freeman

Posted - 30 Jan 04 - 11:34 am

Very funny Ed, I especially like the last verse.

The original song is reminiscent of today, but hopefully you can get help now.



Jon Freeman

Posted - 30 Jan 04 - 12:54 pm

Ed: Double Gloucester in MICE? We will have John From Hull telling us about eating it in hamsters next!!!




Abby Sale

Posted - 25 Sep 08 - 02:06 am

Has anyone any background on this song?

I've found very little -

Roud only reports nine Copper family references, dating back only to 1936. No broadsides.

Kennedy gives the same version but notes that it goes back to Napolionic wars era when there was no trade work to be had (and tradesmen and farmers accused each other of profiteering) but gives no references at all.

The song gives "fighting for their queen..." which wouldn't be Napoleonic for what that's worth.

Also FWIW, yiz might be interested in this wha I came across while rooting around for it - Hard times and no beer just to show, I guess, that things can always be worse.




Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 25 Sep 08 - 04:01 am

The song did appear on broadsides, but maybe not very much. Pitts printed two editions at any rate, which can be seen at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

The tradesman's complaint

The earlier edition catches the tail end of the Napoleonic Wars, so Kennedy was right this time.



Abby Sale

Posted - 25 Sep 08 - 02:02 pm

Well done; thank you, Malcolm.


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