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THE DEATH OF POOR BILL BROWN

Come all you men, both great and small,
Gamekeepers, poachers, sportsmen all,
Come listen to my simple song,
I'll sing you the death of poor Bill Brown,
I'll sing you the death of poor Bill Brown -
Right fol the dol laddie i-o.

One starry night, as you shall hear,
All in the season of the year.
We went to the woods to get a fat buck,
But eh! that night we had bad luck,
Bill Brown got shot, and his dog got stuck -
Right fol the dol laddie i-o.

We went to the woods, our sport began,
I saw the gamekeeper projecting his gun,
I called t' Bill to climb the gate,
To get a fat buck, but it was too late,
For there he met his untimely fate -
Right fol the dol laddie i-o.

As dying he lay on the ground
In this sad state poor Bill I found;
When he saw me poor Bill did cry
'Revenge my fate', 'I will' said I,
'For many a hare we've caught here by -
Right fol the dol laddie i-o.

Next night I dressed myself in time,
I went to the wood as the clock struck nine,
The reason now I'll tell you why,
To find the gamekeeper I will try,
Who shot my friend, and he shall die -
Right fol the dol laddie i-o.

I ranged the woods all round, and then,
I looked at my watch, and it was just ten;
I heard a footstep on the green,
And lay me down for fear I'd be seen,
For I plainly saw that it was Tom Green -
Right fol the dol laddie i-o.

I know the man that shot Bill Brown,
I know him well and can tell his [gown?]
And to describe him in my song -
Black jacket he had and red waistcoat on,
I know him well and they call him Tom -
Right fol the dol laddie i-o.

I took my fowlpiece in my hand,
Resolved to fire if Tom should stand;
Tom heard a noise and turned him round,
I fired and brought him to the ground,
My hand gave him the deep death wound -
Right fol the dol laddie i-o.

And now to conclude and finish my song,
I shot the man that shot Bill Brown.
Poor Bill; no more his eyes will see,
Farewell, dear friend, farewell said he,
For I've crowned the last hopes of his memory
Right fol the dol laddie i-o.


This is a well known song in Yorkshire commemorating an incident in Brightside,
near Sheffield, in 1769.
Arthur Howard (1902-1982), who was born in Holmfirth, learned the song from his
father and recorded it
on an LP Merry Mountain Child (Hill and Dale, HD006) in 1981 for Ian Russell, an
d it was subsequently
included in the CD A Century of Song EFDSS CD02 issued by the English Folk Dance
and Song Society in 1998.

A similar text with a tune is given by Frank Kidson in his Traditional Tunes, 18
91 , where he states that
the tune was noted by his informant Charles Lolley in Goole, and that it was the
same tune which another
of his correspondents had found in the Leeds district. Kidson's said that the te
xt he gave had come from
a broadside.

Kidson noted another broadside beginning "In seventeen hundred and sixty-nine.."
on the same subject,
and there are several copies in the Bodleian:-printed by C.Croshaw, York, Harkne
ss, Preston, Such, London,
and Wright, Birmingham

@hunting @poaching @death
filename[ BILLBRWN
ME
Feb07

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