Smugglers Song (Live at midnight in Sculthorpe Church Porch)

from by Hayward and Parsons

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lyrics

We smuggled this song onto the album at the stroke of midnight, past a rightfully vigilant villager who confronted us at Sculthorpe Church Porch, only a few miles from Walsingham. We sang it in honour of Peter Bellamy, who was a Norfolk folk singer of great repute and national importance, who went to grammar school in the nearby town of Fakenham.

With words by Rudyard Kipling and a traditional melody found by Peter Bellamy, this song captures the atmosphere of the smuggling tradition of Sussex. It provides a cold warning to a child not to let the side down. It makes clear how everyone in the community must be involved, to feel victorious against the state in the great crime of smuggling.

Lyrics:
If you wake at midnight, and hear the horses' feet,
Don't go drawing back the blind, nor looking in the street,
Them that asks no questions they isn't told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Five-and-twenty ponies, trotting through the dark—
With brandy for the Parson and 'baccy for the Clerk.
Laces for a lady and letters for a spy,
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine;
Don't you call to come and look, nor use them for your play;
Put the brushwood back again,—and they'll be gone next day!

If you see a stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat, all cut about and tore;
If the lining's wet and warm—don't you ask no more!

If you see King George's men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you “pretty maid”, and chuck you 'neath the chin,
Don't you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one's been!

If you do as you've been told, likely there's a chance
You'll be give a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood—
A present from the Gentlemen, along o' being good!

Five-and-twenty ponies, trotting through the dark—
With brandy for the Parson, 'baccy for the Clerk.
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie—
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

credits

from To Be A Pilgrim (Songs From The Way To Walsingham), released May 5, 2015
Trad. Arr. Hayward and Parsons

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Hayward and Parsons UK

Hayward and Parsons are singing pilgrims, on a musical quest to bring back pilgrimage to Britain.

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