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> Norma Waterson > Songs > The Green Fields of England

The Green Fields of England

[Peter Bellamy]

Peter and Anthea Bellamy sang The Green Fields of England in Peter Bellamy's 1977 ballad opera The Transports, with Mike and Norma Waterson as The Convicts (Henry Cabell and Susannah Holmes) joining in on chorus.

In 1980 Shirley Collins toured Australia with Peter Bellamy. Although they performed separate sets, they sang duets at the end of each half of their concerts. A recording of The Green Fields of England from Sydney Opera House was included in 2002 on the Shirley Collins anthology Within Sound.

Coope Boyes & Simpson sang this song on the 2004 re-recording of The Transports.

Sound Tradition sang Green Fields of England in 2017 on their CD Well Met, My Friend.

Lyrics

Peter and Anthea Bellamy sing The Green Fields of England

Farewell to our lovers and our kind relations,
Farewell to the homes we love well.
There is never an ending to our tribulations
For they've damned us like sinners to Hell.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Here's adieu, here's adieu
To the green fields of England
Now we're parting from you.

The sweet fetters of love they are wrenching asunder
As they tear us from sweethearts and wives.
And on some foreign shore we are sentenced to wander
In exile the rest of our lives.

From Devon, from Derby, from Wiltshire and Wales,
From Norwich, from Newark and Frome,
We are herded together from verminous gaols
And like vermin are forced from our homes.

There's cheats and cut-purses and rogues with no name,
There's swindlers and sheep-stealers bold,
There's poor poaching fellows took nothing but game
And there's footpads took nothing but gold!

There's coiners and clippers and ladies of pleasure,
There's dicers and drunkards and whores,
There's butchers and bakers who dealt in short measures
And a few who have broken no laws.

There's some who expected to go to the scaffold,
There's others who thought to go free.
But now one and all in the hulks lie a-shackled
And together must plough the salt sea.

There's some of our number are handsome and hearty,
There's others the voyage will mend.
But there's never a soul of our miserable party
Will live to see England again.

So farewell to all judges so kind and forgiving,
Farewell to your prisons and cells.
For though me must leave all that makes life worth living,
We are leaving you bastards as well!

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Wolfgang Hell who kindly provided me with the sleeve notes of the The Transports LPs.