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The Plymouth Mail

[Peter Bellamy]

Vic Legg, in the role of The Coachman, sang The Plymouth Mail in Peter Bellamy’s 1977 ballad opera The Transports.


Vic Legg sings The Plymouth Mail

The whip goes crack and the horn does blow
The turnpike calls and I must go
And wind nor sleet nor rain nor hail
Will halt the driver of the Plymouth Mail.

When I was a lad I used to play
By the roadside all the live-long day,
Hoping always to espy
The gentry’s coaches a-rolling by.

When I was a youth I used to roam
With a waggoner from town to town;
But I longed to fly across the land
On a stagecoach high with a four-in-hand.

Now I am grown unto a man
On the driver’s box I take my stand.
Like the captain bold of a ship of sail
I’m the man who drives the Plymouth Mail.


With six on top and four inside,
The post-poy and the guard beside;
Their bags and baggage safely stowed
It’s time to take the open road.

Then the hooves do fly and the wheels spin round
And we bid adieu to Plymouth town.
Plympton, Brent and Ashburton pass
And to Exeter we comes at last.

Then the horses blow and their sides do steam
As the ostlers run to change the team.
The travellers gulp a glass of ale
Then back they scramble on the Plymouth Mail.


We roll across the Dorset Downs
And stage again in Shaftesbury town.
Then I crack my whip with might and main
And on we roll to Salisbury Plain.

Soon over Hounslow Heath we fly
Where the gibbets loom against the sky.
And the passengers all hide their gold
For fear we meet some robbers bold.


At the sign of the Standard in Cornhill
At last my rumbling wheels are still.
And the passengers all stiff and sore
Thank God their journey’s safely o’er.

In a cozy parlour now I stand
With a goodly bumper to my hand,
And the travellers drink a glass of ale
To the health of the driver of the Plymouth Mail.