Cadgwith Anthem / The Robber’s Retreat 

Cornish Fo’c’sle Song

Adapted from Traditional by Christie Dalby & Gina Dalby

Come fill up your glasses and let us be merry,
For to rob bags of plunder it is our intent.

As we roam through the valleys
Where the lilies and the roses
And the beauty of Kashmir lay drooping his head
Then away, then away
To the caves in yonder mountain,
Where the robbers retreat
As you look around us you’ll see naught of value
For our men do adore us but provide they do NOT

They are shiftless and lazy
They do not earn their keep
And so we have turned to a life of great crime.
So we sneak; and we steal; and we thieve.
Then away to the mountains,
Where we robbers retreat.

Hush, hush in the distance there’s footsteps approaching
Stand, stand and deliver it is our watch cry.

We are skilled in deception.
We are strong-willed and wise.
And our quick-wits and fine forms do serve us so well.
So we plot; and we plan; and we scheme.
Then we get what we want,
And away we retreat.

Don’t be fooled by our beauty or pleasing demeanor.
For we’re lethal young ladies and your loot is ours now!

We would much rather pinch,
Than to earn a days wage,
So you are our victims, we take what we like.
Your coin, your jewels, your men!
Then away to the mountains,
‘Til we meet again!


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Song Notes

When Bounding Main first gathered together in 2003 the group did not have a lot of maritime songs under their collective belt.  Dean was familiar with a fair amount of English folk songs, largely from listening to the works of the 70s Folk-Rock Group, Steeleye Span.  One of the songs that he had memorized that lent itself to harmony was Cadgwith Anthem – nevermind that it wasn’t, in our minds then, a maritime song at all.

Lo and behold:  it turns out this song was collected in a volume in 1906, called The Naval Song Book!  Thanks to the scholars at Mainly Norfolk:  English Folk and Other Good Music for their excellent research!

Gina and Christie came up with additional lyrics to this piece.  Steeleye Span sang it as a four part harmony in the key of Eb, we sang it in B.  More than a well arranged and well-sung song, the Twins transformed the piece into something quite amazing – a show favorite with audience interaction and lots of laughs.