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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
jacko@nz Lyr Add: Copshawholme Fair (Steeleye Span) (17) Lyr Add: COPSHAWHOLME FAIR 23 Aug 06

Lots of versions here. Seems to me that the late Willie Scott (b. 1897), who learned the song from his mother, should get a mention. Willie, who was born into a shepherding family in the Borders, quite conceivably attended the Copshawholm Fair before it was last held in April 1912. (It was held on the second Friday of April or the Friday before the 17th of May). It was actually called the Castleton Hiring Fair.

Myself, I finish with the spare four lines substituted into in the last whole verse instead of as shown



On a Friday it fell in the month of april
Ower the hills cam the morn wi her blithesomest smile
The folks were aa thranging the roads everywhere
Makin haste tae be in at the Copshawholm Fair
They were seen comin in frae the mountains and glens
Baith rosie faced lassies and strappin young men
Wi a joy in their hairts and unburdened wi care
When meetin auld freens at the Copshawholm Fair

'Tis a day when auld courtships are often renewed
Disputes set aside or more hotly pursued
When Barleycorn Johnny sees fit tae declare
Is law for he's king at Copshawholm Fair
There are lads for the lassies and toys for the bairns
There's blin' ballad singers and folk wi nae airms
A fiddler is here an a thimbler is there
Wi nutmen and spicemen at Copshawholm Fair

There's pethers and pothers and gingerbread stans
Peepshows, puff and darts an great caravans
There's fruit frae a nations exhibited there
And kale plants frae Hawick at the Copshawholm Fair
Noo aboot the hirin if ye want tae hear tell
Ye shall ken it as far as a've seen it masel
That whit wages are gien, it's ill tae declare
Sae muckle they vary at Copshawholm Fair

Jist yin a hae seen, a strappin young quine
Heard her speir whit her wage wis an whaur she had been
Whit work she'd been daein an how lang she'd been there
Whit wages she wanted at Copshawholm Fair
At first the young lassie a wee while stood dumb
She blushed an she scrappit her fit on the grun
At last she took hairt and did stoutly declare
A'll hae five pund and ten at Copshawholm Fair

Says he "But ma lass that's a vera big wage'
And turnin about as he'd been in a rage, says
"A'll gie ye five pund, but A'll gie ye nae mair
A think ye maun tak it this Copshawholm Fair
He held oot a shillin tae arle the bit wench
In case it should enter her noddle tae flinch
She grab at it mutterin 'A shoulda haen mair
But yet a will tak it at Copshawholm Fair

Noo the hirin wis dune and aff they a sprang
They've run tae the bar-room tae jine in the thrang
"I never will lie wi my mammy nae mair"
The fiddler plays briskly at Copshawhom Fair
There's one in the corner sits drinkin his gill
Another beside him sits sippin his yill
Anithir is strippit an swearin richt sair
Room will ye no gie me at the Copshawholm Fair

Noo this is the fashion they thus passed the day
Till nicht comes at last and they ellie away
But some are sae sick that they canna dae mair
Wi dancin and fechtin at Copshawholm Fair

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