> The Copper Family > Songs > The Trooper
The Bold Trooper / The Trooper and the Tailor / The Groggy Old Tailor / The Bold Drover
; Master title: The Bold Trooper
; G/D 7:1463
; Ballad Index
Songs and Southern Breezes Marrow Bones Folk Songs of the Upper Thames Everyman’s Book of English Country Songs The Cruel Wars
Bob Copper collected The Bold Trooper from Jim Barrett at the Fox Inn in North Waltham, near Basingstoke, Hampshire, on 10 August 1955; see Chapter 15, pp. 123-134, of Songs and Southern Breezes for the details. This recording wasn’t included on the accompanying album, but in 2012 on the Topic anthology of songs by Southern English traditional singers, You Never Heard So Sweet (The Voice of the People Volume 21). Bob Copper later recorded The Trooper for his 1977 Topic album Sweet Rose in June. The album’s sleeve notes commented:
In the mid 1950s Bob and his wife moved to Cheriton in Hampshire as landlord of the H.H. Inn, an episode described in his third book, Songs and Southern Breezes (1973). Here, working part-time on behalf of the BBC, Bob himself assumed the role of collector. Many of the songs that he collected are preserved on disc in the BBC archives, and a selection may be heard on a Topic record (12T317), but some songs (for reasons best known to the BBC) were wiped from the tape without being transferred to disc. Luckily for us, Bob’s receptive ear and memory ensured their survival. These include The Trooper, from Frank Cole of North Waltham; The Squire’s Lost Lady, from Ben Butcher of Popham; The Fisherman, from Victor ‘Turp’ Brown of Cheriton and both The Rose in June and Young Johnnie from George Fosbury of Axford, supplemented in George Fosbury’s case by the texts in Folk Songs of the Upper Thames.
Harry Cox of Catfield, Norfolk, sang The Old Drover to Peter Kennedy on 19 July 1956 (BBC recording 22914). It was included in 1964 with the name The Groggy Old Tailor on his Folk-Legacy album Traditional English Love Songs and, as The Bold Drover, in 2000 on his Topic anthology The Bonny Labouring Boy. This is a 1964 live performance of The Bold Drover from the BBC Archive:
John Faulkner sang The Old Drover in 1969 on his and Sandra Kerr’s eponymous Argo album, John & Sandra.
Johnny Collins sang The Groggy Old Tailor in 1973 on his Traditional Sound album The Traveller’s Rest.
Cyril Tawney sang The Bold Trooper on his 1976 Trailer album of seduction songs from the Baring-Gould manuscripts, Down Among the Barley Straw.
Nora Cleary sang The Bold Trooper to Roly Brown in her home at The Hand, Milton Malbay, Co. Clare, in 1976. This recording was published in 1978 on the Topic album of songs from County Clare, The Lambs on the Green Hill, and was included in 1998 on the Topic anthology of ballads of true and false lovers, Tonight I’ll Make You My Bride (The Voice of the People Volume 6).
Jumbo Brightwell sang The Blacksmith’s Daughter to Keith Summers in between 1975 and 1977. This recording was published in 1978 on the Topic anthology of traditional songs and music from Suffolk, Sing, Say and Play.
Jumbo Brightwell appeared on the first radio broadcast in 1939 of Suffolk music from the Eel’s Foot Inn and has since had a record made of this fine singing [Songs From the Eel’s Foot]. In his youth he would bike with his father Velvet to the pub on a Saturday night and it was here that he picked up many of his songs from older men such as Diddy and Crutter Cook, Edgar Button and Percy Smith. In addition, Jumbo was an excellent steel quoits player and very often matches at surrounding villages would be followed by a sing-song in the local. On this record Jumbo sings the first song he ever learnt, The Blacksmith’s Daughter, which he picked up as a boy standing outside Glemham Lion while minding the ponies for local farmworkers.
Danny Brazil sang The Croppy Tailor to Gwilym Davies at Staverton, Gloucestershire, on 5 May 1978. This recording was included in 2007 on the Brazil Family’s Musical Tradition anthology Down By the Old Riverside.
Nick Dow sang The Wild Croppy Tailor on his 2018 album of unaccompanied traditional folk songs, Far and Wide. He noted:
The late Liam Weldon sang this tune with slightly different words. Liam took me under his wings when I first came to Dublin as a young singer, giving me encouragement and advice. The song is a version of The Bold Trooper and quite well known. It was previously collected by Bob Copper.
Jim Barrett sings The Trooper
In London’s fair city a fair maid did dwell,
For style and for beauty there’s no tongue can tell.
For style and for beauty there’s no tongue can tell,
If her husband he was a bold trooper.
Chorus (after each verse):
And her husband he was a bold trooper.
There was an old tailor who lived close by
And unto this woman he casted his eye.
“Ten guineas I’ll give you this night for to sleep
If your husband’s out upon duty.”
The bargain was made and they both went to bed,
They had not been there long before they fell fast asleep.
“O, hide me, O hide me,” the tailor he cried,
“I heard the bold knock of the trooper.”
“There’s a three-cornered cupboard behind my room door
And there I can hide you so safe and so sure.
And there I can hide you so safe and so sure
If you heard the bold knock of the trooper.”
She went down the stairs for to welcome him in,
“Your kisses or compliments I don’t care a hang,
Your kisses or compliments I don’t care a hang,
Come, light me a fire,” said the trooper.
“Dear husband, dear husband, there’s no fire stuff,
We’ll both go to bed and we’ll feel warm enough,
We’ll both go to bed and we’ll feel warm enough.”
“No, come light me a fire,” said the trooper.
“There’s a three-cornered cupboard behind my room door,
And that I can burn I’m so safe and so sure,
And that I can burn I’m so safe and so sure.”
“Come, light me a fire,” said the trooper.
“O, no,” said the woman, “that’s not my desire
For to burn a good cupboard to light you a fire,
For in there I keeps a game cock I do admire.”
“Then I’ll see your game cock,” said the trooper.
He walks up the stairs and he opens the door
And there sits the tailor so safe and so sure.
He gave him a knock to the middle of the floor,
Saying, “Is this your game cock?” said the trooper.
He puts his hand in his pocket and pulls out his shears
And onto the table he cut his two ears,
Saying, “For my night’s lodging I’ve paid very dear.”
And away walked the poor cropped tailor.
Danny Brazil sings The Croppy Tailor
There was an old tailor he lived in Fairmye,
And on this old doughnut he did fix his eye;
He swore he would have her or else he would die,
While the keeper was out upon duty.
He said, “Dearest woman your husband’s on the deep,
Ten guineas I’ll give this night with you to sleep;
For into the room I will silently creep,
While your husband is out upon duty.”
They stripped off their clothes and jumped into bed,
The thoughts of the trooper never ran in his head;
They tossed and they tumbled ’til about one o’clock
Up came the bold bosun the doors for to knock.
It woke the little tailor right out of his sleep
Saying, “Where shall I run to or where shall I creep?
For I’ve heard the bold knock from the trooper.
Oh hide me, oh hide me,” the poor tailor said,
“For I hear the bold knock of the trooper.”
“There is an old cupboard stands behind the hall door,
For it’s in it you’ll get, you’ll be safe and secure;
And I will go down and I’ll open the door,
With kisses and comforts like man and wife should
And welcome my husband the trooper.”
Then she went down and he opened the door,
With kisses and comforts like man and wife sure;
“Your kisses and comforts they make me full sore,
Will you light me fire to my supper?”
She said, “Dearest husband there is no fire stuff,
If you jump in bed with me you’ll be quite warm enough.”
He says, “There is an old cupboard stands behind the hall door,
And I’ll burn it tonight,” said the trooper.
“Oh husband, oh husband, oh grant my desire,
The old corner cupboard’s too good for the fire;
And in it I keep my gamecock I admire”
“Show me your gamecock!” said the trooper.
He hauled the old cupboard from behind the hall door,
And he hauled the little tailor right out on the floor,
Saying, “Is this your gamecock?” said the trooper.
He asked for the sethers and then for the shears,
And he clipped off the tips of the poor tailor’s ears;
He give him a kick and a bash and a blow,
And away run the poor croppy tailor.
Said the old tailor, “You’ve done it all right,
But I’ve had your old wife for the most of the night.”
And away run the poor croppy tailor.