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Come All You Bold Britons

[ Roud 1214 ; Ballad Index CoSe250 ; trad.]

This song from the repertoire of the Copper Family is printed in The Copper Family Song Book. Bob and John Copper sang Come All Bold Britons in 1971 on their Leader box A Song for Every Season. The Copper Family also sang Come All Ye Bold Britons live in Will Noble’s barn in Denby Dale, Yorkshire on 27 September 1986, which was published in the following year on the EFDSS Holme Valley Tradition cassette Will’s Barn. John Copper and Jon Dudley sang Come All Bold Britons in 1998 on their CD Coppersongs 3: The Legacy Continues. Sean and Mark Barratt from the most recent Copper Family generation sang Come All You Bold Britons in 2008 on the Young Coppers’s CD Passing Out.


The Copper Family sing Come All You Bold Britons

Come all you bold Britons wherever you may dwell,
Come listen unto me while a story I will tell,
Great crops of corn our Lord does send,
Where there is one farm there might be ten
And then more cows there might be kept—in old England.

Come all you bold statesmen that are of high renown,
Before the times get better rates and taxes must go down,
Let every farmer hear my thrive
And to the poor some milk might give,
And that’s the way we ought to live—in old England.

Oh, yonder shines Phoebe see how she shines so clear,
She will nobly rise and set, my boys, each day throughout the year,
And shiny nights they are so gay,
Both rents and taxes we must pay,
Or else find out some better ways—in old England.

Now some they do say we are made of mortal clay,
While others they do say we were born but yesterday.
But look into old Adam and Eve
And in the scriptures you will read
That we are all one flesh and blood—in old England.

Come all you bold heroes and God speed the plough,
I hope we shall see better times soon in old England now,
And in due time when mercy call
All for the riches great and small
That death will come and seize us all—in old England.


Kevthefarmer noted in the Mudcat Café thread Any new mondegreens?:

Two [mondegreens] from the same song in the Copper Family repertoire, "Come All Ye Bold Britons. As sung, these are nonsense and surely detract from a powerful and appropriate song. Basically they are transcription errors from way back.

Verse 2: “Let every farmer hear my thrive”, should be “Then every farmer here might thrive”.

Last verse: “for all the riches great and small”, should be “for all the righteous great and small”.