You noble spectators, wherever you be,
Your attention I beg and I crave,
For it’s all my desire you make a big room,
And abundance of pastime you’ll have.
I am the second Samson in Judges you’ll find,
Who delights in his darling so dear;
What a blockhead was I for to tell her my mind,
So gallant and quick you shall hear.
Now here comes the man who laid hands upon me,
By him I was grieved to the heart;
As I lay asleep on my dear darling’s knee,
Oh the barber was playing his part.
The second’s his brother, you might think they were twins,
I thought by the world they would fight,
When these two philistines seized upon me,
You’d ’a thought they’d ’a ruined me quite.
The third is a man of some much milder blood;
Some pity there’s lodged in his breast;
He oft-times threatened to do me some good,
But he daresn’t for fear of the rest.
The fourth he comes on like a ranting young lad,
He’s like to some majestial stand;
’Twas he that gave orders that I should be polled,
So they fettered my feet and my hands.
The fifth is as cruel as cruel can be,
The others and him did advise;
’Twas he that gave orders that I should no more see
So they instantly bored out my eyes.
The sixth is no better than all of the rest,
He was the first breeder of strife,
And if any of you had been there in my place,
You’d be glad to come off with your life.
Now these are the six lads that laid hands upon me
Without the consent of my dear,
But I shall come even with them by and by,
So gallant and quick you shall hear.
Now when they were all merry carousing with wine,
The first one for Samson did call,
He pulled the house down and slew all at that time,
And that was an end of them all.
These are six actors bold
Ne’er come on stage afore,
But they have done their best
And the best can do no more.
You’ve seen ’em all go round,
Think of ’em what you will,
Music, strike up and play
T’ Awd Lass of Dallowgill.
Recorded by Mark Ellison at Masham Church during a performance by the Highside Longsword Team, 21st January, 2007 . The tune played on melodeon for the dancers before and after the song is a variant of The Girl I left behind me with a hint of My love is but a lassie yet.
This is a traditional song about Yorkshire, collected in Yorkshire.
Almost every longsword dance in Yorkshire has its calling-on song. We have chosen to include here the version traditionally sung by the captain of the Highside Longsword Team who dance the Kirkby Malzeard Sword Dance. We intend to eventually give versions of all the longsword songs in the next phase of the project. Details of the dance and its history can be found in Ivor Allsop’s excellent book Longsword Dances from Traditional and Manuscript Sources, Northern Harmony, 1996, pp151-168.
The version of the song in Ivor’s book gives the following instead of stanza 3 here.
The first he comes on like a ranting young lad,
He conquers wherever he goes;
He’s scorned by his enemies to be controlled
And his name it is King William Roe.
The earliest printing of this song was in Lucy Broadwood’s and J A Fuller-Maitland’s English County Songs, Leadenhall Press, 1893, p16. As this has been long out of print we reproduce some of her notes here.
‘The tune generally played for the dance was My love she’s but a lassie yet but the tune of the prologue has so much of the morris dance character that it very possibly served to dance to. The instruments are two fiddles and a small drum; the musicians and clown are dressed in blue calico jackets with red braid and a pink sash or hem, white calico trousers with red stripe, and a pink cap; the dancers wear pink jackets with blue braid and sash, white trousers with red stripe, and a blue cap. This was a traditional performance by the old inhabitants of Kirby Malzeard, near Ripon. Mr. Bower says: ‘Taken down by me from old Thomas Wood, of Kirby Malzeard, who sings and repeats it. But he will have nothing to do with the present Christmas sword-dancers, or ‘Moowers’ who, he says, ‘have never had the full of it, and don’t dress properly, nor do it in any form, being a bad, idle company; but were originally taught by him to make up his numbers at the Ripon Millenary Festival.’
Mr. Bower sends another version of the words, from Skelton, near Ripon, with some characteristic differences of text. (Explanation of the differences) This version was taken down by John Fawcett, farm foreman in the service of Captain Hincks, of Breconboro’, near Thirsk.
Formerly the dresses were adorned with many ribbons, as were also the head-dresses, which were like tall hats with cockades or plumes.’
This change of costume over different generations seems to have been common with Yorkshire lonsword teams at least in the nineteenth century. Flamborough Sword-dancers’ fishermen’s costume worn during the twentieth century appears to have replaced a much more military type costume worn in the nineteenth century.