A poacher creeps through the woods

The Lincolnshire Poacher

introduced by David Jones

"The Lincolnshire Poacher" has been referred to as the unofficial county anthem of Lincolnshire. It is said that the song was a favorite of King George IV and dates back to the American Revolution (1776).

The tune has been used as a quick march by several British regiments, including the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, who are known as the “Poachers.” It was also used by some New York Regiments during the American Civil War. 


On a personal note: This was a song we sang at school. I first sang it when I was 10 years old, so I have known it for 75 years. It was a great relief to sing this song after “Who is Sylvia,” “Nymphs and Shepherds,” and other arty-type songs which were commonly sung in school singing classes. You may remember Jean Redpath talking about songs sung at British schools. She was very funny.

Another factor in its favor is that it has a good tune and is easy to sing.

Listen to John Roberts and Tony Barrand sing "The Lincolnshire Poacher:"

"The Lincolnshire Poacher" sheet musicClick here to download a PDF of the sheet music.

Lyrics

Well I was bound apprentice in famous Lincolnshire

Full well I served my master for more than seven year

'Til I took up a-poaching, as you will quickly hear
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

As me and my companions were setting of a snare

'Twas then we spied the gamekeeper, for him we did not care

For we can wrestle and fight, my boys, and jump o'er anywhere
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

As me and my companions were setting four or five
And taking of them up again, we caught a hare alive
We caught a hare alive, me boys, and homeward we did steer
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

We put him over our shoulder and then we trudged on home

We took him to a neighbor's house, and sold him for a crown
We sold him for a crown, my boys, but I dare not tell you where

Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

Good luck to every gentleman that lives in Lincolnshire
Good luck to every poacher that wants to steal a hare

Bad luck to every gamekeeper that will not sell his deer
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

David Jones: a South East Londoner, born in 1934, has been singing the old songs for many years. Earliest remembered folksongs are "The Lincolnshire Poacher" and "The Farmer's Boy," learned at school in the mid-1940s. He has sung in the USA more than anywhere else, but has made forays back to the UK, to Australia, and to parts of Europe. He has sung solo, and with a number of groups, and, on the way, has recorded several albums of folksongs. Now, he lives in Leonia, NJ, Gateway to the Golden West, with his wife Louise, and tries to be involved as much as possible with the NYC folk music scene. Has appeared in a number of NYC theater productions to favorable reviews. Last local performance was as Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

     
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