> Waterson:Carthy > Songs > Time to Remember the Poor

Time to Remember the Poor / The Snow Is on the Ground

[ Roud 1121 ; Ballad Index Wa161 ; Bodleian Roud 1121 ; Wiltshire 485 ; trad.]

Frank and Anne Warner collected The Snow Is on the Ground from Eleanor Tizzett in 1951. Their son Jeff Warner sang it in 2005 on his CD Jolly Tinker. This track was also included in 2006 on the Free Reed anthology Midwinter. Jeff Warner commented in his album's liner notes:

This is another song from the repertoire of Eleazar Tillett [collected on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in 1941]. I have found the song (without music) in the 1853 edition of the Forget Me Not Songster. Though Eleazar's tune is different, the song was also collected in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, England, in the early 1900s.

Waterson:Carthy sang the Yorkshire version of this song, Time to Remember the Poor, on their 2006 album Holy Heathens and the Old Green Man. Martin Carthy commented in the album's sleeve notes:

Mr Lolley's a name which crops up time and again in the correspondence of the Yorkshire collector Frank Kidson as a conduit and it is he who sent him Time to Remember the Poor. Clearly it's an Art Song, but it is in no way out of place in his or any collection: what we have is a good piece of songwriting and a well timed piece of comment.


Waterson:Carthy sing Time to Remember the Poor

Cold winter is come, with its cold chilling breath
And the leaves are all gone from the trees.
And all seems touched by the finger of death
And the streams are beginning to freeze.
When the young wanton lads o'er the river slide,
When Flora attends us no more,
When in plenty you are sitting by a warm fireside:
That's the time to remember the poor.

The cold feather'd snow will in plenty descend
And whiten the prospects around.
The keen cutting wind from the North will attend
And cover it over the ground.
When the hills and the dales are all candied with white
And the rivers are froze on the shore,
When the bright twinkling stars they proclaim the cold night:
That's the time to remember the poor.

The poor timid hare through the woods may be traced
With the footsteps indented in the snow,
When our lips and our fingers are dangling with cold
And the marksman a-shooting does go.
When the poor Robin Redbreast approaches your cot
And the icicles hang at the door,
And when your bowl smokes reviving and hot:
That's the time to remember the poor.

The thaw shall ensue and the waters increase
And the rivers vehemently grow;
The fish from oblivion obtains its release
And in danger the travellers go.
When your minds are annoyed by the wide swelling flood
And your bridges are useful no more;
When in plenty you enjoy everything that is good
Do you grumble to think of the poor?

The time will come when our Saviour on Earth
All world shall agree with one voice.
All nations unite to salute the blest morn
And the whole of the Earth shall rejoice.
When grim death deprived of its killing sting
And the grave rules triumphant no more
Saints, angels and men Hallelujah shall sing
Then the rich must remember the poor.