The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #141748   Message #3986265
Posted By: GUEST,William
07-Apr-19 - 09:48 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Ring the Summer Home (Ewan MacColl)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ring the Summer Home (Ewan MacColl)
Thanks for breaking the back of this one Mike. I've had a go, though still not 100% sure about a few of the names.

I've featured the song on my blog today.

Our king went forth to Normandy,
With grace and might and chivalry,
The God for him wrought marvellously,
Wherefore England may call and cry: “Deo Gratias”.

The king went forth to Normandy,
Pride of might and chivalry,
Welsh and English longbowmen,
Bondmen, serfs were in the band,
While at home men and women laboured in the fields,
That the masters might enjoy their yield,
Live and die in the eye and bonds of Edward’s laws,
Caught up in the toils of Edward’s wars.

In the 13th year of the war,
Came the pestilence to our shore,
Sergeant Death stalked through the land,
Murder walked at his right hand,
Kings and their conscript armies play their bloody games,
In the fertile fields of Aquitaine,
Children die caught up on the point of hunger’s lance,
While their fathers die in the fields of France.

In the 40th year of the war,
Richard flogged us with the law,
Beat us with the new poll tax,
Flayed the skin from off our backs,
Our lives are forfeit, caught between the granite millstones,
Of the church and state and king’s throne,
They grind our bodies down, our very souls they plunder,
While our children die of hunger.

The axe was sharp, the stalk was hard,
In the fourteenth year of King Richard,
Clean the blade of the next poll tax,
Honed till sharper than the axe,
The sweating reaper sees the hated tax collector pass,
Time he fits to put the scythe to the grass,
The time has come to put the wheat away, “uproot them all”,
Says the former priest of York, John Ball.

Thirteen hundred eighty-one,
Now the sheep shearing time has come,
With King Richard’s third poll tax,
Hear the cry, “Get off our backs!”
Now soon the sheep will shear the wolf,
The lambs will show their teeth,
Soon the wrestlers will be on the heap,
And we will dance the true man’s Morris at the Whitsun games,
To the welcome sound of broken chains.

Thirteen hundred eighty-one,
Now the May games have begun,
Brentwood fall, begin the jig,
Dance the poll tax whirligig,
The tax collectors they are forced to join the rebel dance,
High up in the air they twitch and prance,
Across the Thames the army of the Essex bondmen went,
Joining forces with the men of Kent.

We have brought the harvest home,
Yes we have brought the summer home,
And we have cut and stacked the corn,
Yes we have brought the summer home,
And sent the tax collector running,
We have brought the summer home,
Sent the tax commissioners running,
We have brought the summer home,
And helped the robber, he is hiding,
We have brought the harvest home,
And the noble knights are hiding,
And the noble squires are hiding,
And the noble lords are hiding,
And the stiff-necked priors are hiding,
And the abbots they are hiding,
And the bishops they are hiding,
We have brought the summer home,
Yes, we have brought the summer home.

We have made a good beginning,
Since that glorious day in Brentwood,
When we chased the tax collectors,
And the day we marched to Maidstone,
And we brought the summer home,
Since we freed John Ball from prison,
Since we burned Lancaster’s palace,
Since we stormed Rochester castle,
Took the head off our archbishop,
And the head off Robert Hales,
And the head off Sir John Fordham,
We have brought the summer home,
Yes we have brought the summer home.

When Abel Ker’s went into Dartford,
And when on to capture Gravesend,
And we brought the summer home,
And we sacked the marshalcy,
Yes as we brought the summer home,
Yes we brought the summer home.

How we reveled in the May Day,
With the chasing of the landlords,
And we celebrated Pentecost,
With John Ball and Wat Tyler,
And the feast of the sheep shearing,
With Jack Straw and William Grindcobbe,
And the feast of corpus cristi,
With the bleeding of the gluttons,
And the vigil of St. John the Baptist
Brought the summer home.

All the south has caught on fire,
Norfolk, Hampshire, Hertfordshire,
Johann Nameless, Thomas Scott,
Here’s the plowman Haume and Wat,
To Canterbury 50,000 men of Kent are sped,
England’s chancellor will lose his head,
And then Wat Tyler and his men are London bound,
Pull the nobles and their prelates down.

All the taxers got the priests,
Ring the necks of noble geese,
Loose all prisoners, set them free,
From Newgate and the Marshalcy,
Burn down the palace of the Duke of Lancaster,
Who’s the servant now, Sir, who’s the master?
Tear the tyrant Treasurer of England from his bed,
See how he can fare without his head!

Adam Atwell – and John Bowlin(?)
Nicholas Boatland(?) – Simon Burley
And Jack Cave – master baker
And John Kent – a shoe maker
And George Donesby – of Lincoln
William Grindecobbe – of St. Albans
Thomas Harding – Maidstone mason
Also Hugh Harvey – of Chester
And there’s Abel Ker – of Brentwood
Richard Kendall – and John Kirby
Geoffrey Lister – dyer of Stafford
And Jack Milner – John de Molyns
There’s John Poter – master, Fuller
And Ray Frug(?) – and Walter Sybyle
Thomas Simpson – basketmaker
And Jack Straw – and Alan Fretter
There’s Will Tonge – and Robert Westbrom
John de Wolde(?) – and there’s Wat Tyler

July, thirteen eighty-one,
Brave Wat Tyler’s come and gone,
Killed by creatures of the court,
Killing bondmen his royal sport,
John Ball was stretched upon the rack, then disemboweled and hung,
His broken body on a dunghill flung,
He said that when the great ones have been rooted up and cast away,
Only then will we learn to be free.

Nineteen hundred eighty-nine,
Against the new poll tax combine,
Join the men of eighty-one,
Finish what John Ball began,
Now we can stretch our hands across time’s ocean wide,
Marching onwards at Wat Tyler’s side,
All honour to the ragged bands who at Smithfield lay,
Those who braved the axe and led the way.