> Folk Music > Songs > Arthur O'Bradley

Arthur O'Bradley

[ Roud 365 ; Ballad Index ReSh005 ; VWML HHA/32/1 ; Bodleian Roud 365 ; Wiltshire Roud 365 ; trad.]

Fay Hield and Nancy Kerr sang Arthur O'Bradley to the tune of The Night Before Larry Was Stretched on the Full English's eponymous 2013 Topic CD, The Full English and, in this video, at the 2014 BBC Folk Awards:

Lyrics

The Full English sing Arthur O' Bradley

Come neighbours and listen a while
If ever you wish for to smile
Or hear a true story of old,
Attend to what I do unfold.

A fella whose fame did resound
Through every village and town,
For fun, for frolic and whim,
None ever was equal to him.

Arthur being stout and bold,
Near upon thirty years old.
He needs a-wooing must go
To get him a lady, you know.

So getting young Dolly's consent,
Away to be married they went.
To make himself noble appear
He mounted the old padded mare.

Chorus:
Come neighbours and listen a while
If ever you wish for to smile
Or hear a true story of old,
Attend to what I do unfold.

Then he packed up his drudgery horse
And put on his holiday clothes.
His coat it was scarlet so fine,
Full trimmed with buttons behind.

Two sleeves it had, it is true,
One yellow, the other was blue.
The cuffs and capes of green,
The longest that ever were seen.

His hat, though greasy and tore,
Cocked up with a feather before.
Under his chin it was tied
With a strip from an old cow's hide.

His breeches three times had been turned
And two holes in the left side were burned.
This was a misfortune, you'll say,
But still he looked gallant and gay.

Thus kitted away he did ride,
Whilst Dolly did trudge by his side,
Till coming up to the church door
Amid five thousand or more.

Then from the old mare he did 'light
Which put the poor clerk in a fright.
And the parson so dreadfully shook
That he presently dropped down his book.

Which Arthur soon picked up again
And swore that he must now begin,
Crying, “Dolly, my dearie, come hither
And let us be married together.”

Chorus

The parson, his duty discharged
Without any fee or reward,
He swore no money he'd have
And poor Arthur had none him to give.

To make him a little amends
He invited him home with his friends,
Take a sweet kiss on the bride
And eat a good dinner beside.

The dishes though few were good,
Sweetest of all living food.
There was roast guinea pig and a bantam,
Sheep's head stewed in a lanthorn.

Two calves feet and a bull's trotter,
The fore and hind legs of an otter,
Lampfish, lippets and dabs,
Crayfish, cockles and crabs.

Red herrings and sprats by the dozen
To feast all his uncles and cousins
Who were so well pleased with the treat,
Heartily they did all eat.

Chorus

The guests being well satisfied,
The dishes were laid on one side.
And Arthur, to make their hearts merry,
Brought pale ale, perkin and perry.

“Come, give us a dance,” quoth Doll,
“Come, Geoffrey, and play us Mad Moll.
'Tis time to be merry and frisky,
But first let us have some more whisky.

“My lily, my lark, my love,
My daffy down dilly, my dove,
My everything and my wife,
I ne'er was so pleased in my life.”

The pipers then screwed up their bags
And the girls began shaking their rags.
Whilst some only one leg had gotten
And that which they had it was rotten.

The parson let off at the top;
Some danced, while the others did hop.
There was lead up and down, figure in,
Cross hands and then back again.

Dancing they spent the whole night
Till Phoebus appeared in their sight,
When each took a kiss of the bride
And hopped to his own fireside.

Chorus