Campbell the Rover

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  • Teideal (Title): Campbell the Rover.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): none.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 881.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): unavailable.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Peter Kennedy.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 1959.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): London, England.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): recording studio session.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

On the first day of April I shall not forget
When two English blades together they met
They swore they’d play a trick on the first one they’d spy
When Campbell the Rover he chanced to ride by.
Laddie fol-de-ral laddie
Lallie fol-de-ral-lee.

On Campbell the Rover they cast a sly eye
The mounted their horses and rode up alongside
They saluted Campbell and he done the same
And in close conversation together they came.

They came to an inn where they made a full stop
They asked Campbell in for to have a small drop
Campbell consented and said with a smile
‘I long for a taste of this draught of sweet ale.’

The tumblers of whisky they followed with wine
Twenty-five shillings it cost them a time
There was more for the horses for oats and for hay
And they planned to leave Campbell the reckoning to pay.

Then the two English blades they slipped out one by one
Leaving Campbell at the table to pay the whole sum
Then in came the landlord, to Campbell did say,
‘Your friends they are gone, the reckoning you’ll pay.’

‘Never mind them,’ says Campbell, ‘since they’re gone away
I have plenty of money the reckoning to pay.
Sit down here beside me before I will go
I’ll tell you a trick that perhaps you don’t know.’

‘I’ll tell you a trick that’s contrary to law
That two sorts of liquor from one punch I can draw’
The landlord being eager to find out the plan
It’s down to the lower cellar with Campbell he ran.

He bored him a hole in a very short space
He then bored another in the very same place
He said to the landlord, ‘Now place your hand there
Till I for tumbler will run up the stair.’

He mounted his horse and was soon out of sight
The servant came in to see if all was right
He searched the whole house from top to the ground
‘Twas down in the lower cellar his master he found.

Up on the counter they found Campbell had wrote:
‘You’re very well paid for the trick that I taught
For the two kinds of liquor the reckoning I’ve paid –
I’ve left you two bullets for those two English blades.’

Notes

This recording was made for the BBC by Peter Kennedy (26311) can be heard on a Folktrax recording, Health to the Barley Mow: Songs of Good Company (FTX-025).

The transcription given here is from Peter Kennedy (ed.), Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, Oak Publications (1975), #269, p. 601.