> Folk Music > Songs > The Fourteenth of November

The Fourteenth of November

[ Roud 1915 ; Laws N1 ; Ballad Index LN01 ; VWML GB/5/32 , GB/7d/38 ; trad.]

George Butterworth collected On the First of November from ‘Skinny’ Crow of Filby, Norfolk, in March 1913. This seems to be a variant title for what is also called Bold Alexander in the Roud Index and The Duke of Argyle in the Laws Index. It was published in 1977 in the EFDSS book The Ploughboy's Glory, where in the first verse ‘first’ November is amended with ‘fourteenth?’.

Crucible sang The 14th of November in 2005 on their WildGoose album Crux. They noted:

Always a fan of songs about women showing the men up, despite not being particularly political about these things, Helena [Reynolds] found this in the George Butterworth collection, from the singing of a Mr Skinny Crow from Norfolk.

Jackie Oates sang The 14th November in 2006 on her eponymous album Jackie Oates.

Sue Brown and Lorraine Irwing sang On the Fourteenth of November in 2012 on their RootBeat album The 13th Bedroom. They noted:

Collected by George Butterworth from Mr ‘Skinny’ Crow in 1913, and published in The Ploughboy's Glory (EFDSS). One of many songs telling of a woman going of to war to be with her man; in this case she seems single-handedly to galvanise the whole of the English army to victory over the French.

Lyrics

Crucible sing The 14th of November

On the Fourteenth of November last,
When my love and I was parted
For to go and fight the French, my boys,
Leaving her behind broken-hearted.

“O it's can I go along with you
Into yonder field of battle?
O it's can I go along with you
Where the cannons loudly rattle?”

Then I said, “‘O no my dearest dear,
Don’t you think about going,
For the French they lie in foreign parts,
And they soon will prove your ruin.

“O it's can I go along with you,
My noble commander?
For it's fighting that is my delight
With my boldest Alexander.”

Then she had no sooner spoke these words
When there came a cannon ball,
And it's shot her true love on the spot,
And so boldly she saw him fall.

Then she took up his armour bright,
And so boldly fixed over,
And she shot that soldier on the spot
That first wounded her true lover.

And she being of some lady gay,
Both by birth and by freedom,
She's commanded the soldiers for to fight,
While her true love he lay a-bleeding.

“O fight on, fight on my English tars,
Don’t you think about dying,
For the battle it will soon be won
If you keep the cannon balls flying.

“And soon we shall return again
To old England our station,
And we’ll leave the French behind to mourn
The sad ruin of their nation.”