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|According to Barrett this was "another of the patriotic songs called forth by the threatened invasion of England by Napoleon." It was particularly popular among "Navvies" (which is a term that dates to the beginning of the 19th century, and refers to common laborers on projects that require digging/excavation: canals, earthworks, pipelines, levees, railroads. Canals were originally called 'inland navigations', hence the word 'navvie.')*
The song, (this version and some with variations), was printed on several broadsides. Some are noted to be sung to the tune Britain's Sons Never Were Afraid. These can be viewed at the Bodleian Library Collection.
Ye Sons of Albion, rise to arms,
And meet the haughty band;
They threaten us with war's alarms,
And ruin to our land.
But let no rebel Frenchman sans-culottes,
Nor the dupes of tyranny boast
To conquer the English, the Irish, and the Scots,
Or to land upon our coast,
To land upon our coast.
There's hopeless Holland wears their yoke,
And so doth faithless Spain,
But we will give them hearts of oak,
And drive them from the main.
The rulers of the universe
They proudly wish to be,
For they shall meet with due reverse,
For England shall be free!
|From English Folk-Songs
See Bibliography for full information.
*And The Mudcat Cafe.