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The Lincolnshire Poacher

  • (Trad)

            Oh 'tis my delight on a shining night
            In the season of the year

    When I was bound apprentice in famous Lincolnshire
    'Twas well I served my master for nigh on seven years
    Till I took up to poaching as you shall quickly hear

    As me and my companions was setting out a snare
    'Twas then we spied the gamekeeper, for him we didn't care
    For we can wrestle and fight, my boys, and jump from anywhere

    As me and my companions were setting four or five
    And taking them all up again, we caught a hare alive
    We caught a hare alive, my boys, and through the woods did steer

    threw him over my shoulder, boys, and then we trudged home
    We took him to a neighbour's house and sold him for a crown
    We sold him for a crown, my boys, but I divven't tell you where

    Success to every gentleman that lives in Lincolnshire
    Success to every poacher that wants to sell a hare
    Bad luck to every gamekeeper that will not sell his deer

    (as sung by The Spinners)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1963:] When the King took the best land and livestock for his own private reserves, the English Freemen decided to challenge his "God-given" power. Poaching became a popular endeavour to secure necessities for the table, and money for the pocket. (Reprint Sing Out 5, 259)

  • [1970:] 'Stolen' from the school song book, given back the vigour that it once had, and sung as if poaching really were their delight on a shining night. (Notes 'Spotlight On The Spinners')

  • [1979:] Tune, official march of the 1st Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment till 1932. (Palmer, Country 31)

    Instead of 'Bad luck to every magistrate' in the last verse some versions have 'Success to every gentleman'. No doubt the prudent singer would have suited his words to his audience. George IV had a particular liking for the song, and slighting references to his Justices of the Peace would hardly have been well received at Windsor. George IV enjoyed the tune which is still well known, thanks to the 'National Song Book', but the melody much earlier associated with the song was The Manchester Angel. This continued in oral circulation. [...] Although other counties - Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, and even Somersetshire - are sometimes introduced, it seems that Lincolnshire was originally intended, at least from the evidence of the earliest printed version, which appeared in 1776. (Palmer, Country 95)

  • [1982:] Poaching in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England was, for many rural families, the only means of survival, and no one except the squires and their gamekeepers believed it to be a crime. There were many tales of how poachers outwitted or outran the keepers, and some of these found their way into folksong. The best known, ruined by too much use in schools, is The Lincolnshire Poacher. Unfortunately, many poaching songs must have disappeared without trace, because broadside printers, on the whole, tended to be on the side of law and order. (Pollard, Folksong 35)

  • [1988:] There was no point in going out [poaching pheasants] on a clear frosty night, because then the inevitably rustling and clackling as one approached their roost gave warning, and they would take off into the clear sky. No, there was no point about 'My delight on a shiny night' and whoever wrote that song was certainly no poacher. A good poacher had to know his ground so well that he had no need of a shiny night. The ideal is a dark and stormy night [...]. (Archie Cameron, Bare Feet and Tackety Boots. A Boyhood on Rhum. Luath Press, Barr, p 161)


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aktualisiert am 21.12.2000