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Poaching Song

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Alternative title: The Gallant Poachers

Performer: Cook, George
Place Collected: Stow-on-the-Wold
Date collected: 1927-1935
Roud Number: 519

This is a fragment of a song usually known as  “The Gallant Poachers”, one of a number of songs in which the poacher is the hero as opposed to the dastardly gamekeeper.  It harks back to a time of poverty in England when poaching was rife to feed one’s family, despite the risks of gamekeepers with shotguns or of eventual deportation. In the complete version of the song, one of the poachers is killed and the rest arrested. The language of the song makes it clear that sympathy rests with the poachers. The song, which was printed on a broadside, has been collected often in England and twice in the USA, but nowhere else.

Notes by Gwilym Davies


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