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The Transports
The Transports. A Ballad Opera
A Ballad Opera II
Songs of The Transports
Norfolk Chronicle
The First Fleet
The First Fleet Lists

The Robber's Song
(Peter Bellamy)

My name is Abe Carman,
Me trade it is right charmin',
For you know there is no harm in
      A little burglaree;
I live by taking chances
Like the heroes of Romances
And taking what I fancies
      With bold audacitee!

There's wealth all for the taking
And there is no mistaking,
Me fortune I am making
      With a little robberee;
No man shall be me master
As long as I run faster
Than those that would me blast for
      A-taking things for free!

I've robbed the great and wealthy
In manner sly and stealthy.
But it's just to keep me healthy
      As you can plainly see;
No watch, no ring, no clock it
Is not safe within your pocket
And 'twill avail you naught to lock it
      From light-fingered genteree!

When the night it comes a-falling
I tend unto my calling,
Along the wall a-crawling
      For petty larcenee;
There is no sweeter feeling
Than 'neath a window kneeling,
Then through the casement stealing
      With the spoils of thieveree!

You should see how I do swagger
With me cudgel, gun and dagger
And safe within me saddle-bag
      A sum of bright monee;
To see me count me plunder,
It would make you gape with wonder
And I'm sure quite soon you'd under-
      Take som Break and Enteree!

While I've a mate to hold a candle
And an iron to break a handle
And a boy to spy the land then
      I will rob both great and small;
Till me luck it do forsake me
On the day when they do take me
And on the gallows break me
      And that'll pay for all!

(A.L. Lloyd as Abe Carman)

The Leaves in The Woodland
(Peter Bellamy)

Oh the grass in the meadow, the reeds by the mere,
The sad boom of the bittern is all that I hear.
And the leaves in the woodland and the gulls by the shore
Cry: |: You never shall sit by your loved-ones no more.

When I was a young girl the world did seem gay,
But these cruel hard times do drive comfort away.
And the leaves in the woodland and the gulls by the shore
Cry: |: You never shall dance with your sweetheart no more.

Once I gathered wild flowers in the sweet countryside,
But my garlands have withered, my posies have died.
And the leaves in the woodland and the gulls by the shore
Cry: |: You never shall lie with your husband no more.

Once I went a-courting, but now my man's gone,
Once I was a mother, but now I'm alone.
And the leaves in the woodland and the gulls by the shore
Cry: |: You never shall walk with your men-folk no more.

Come all you young women that's free from all care,
Don't you never get married, all sorrows lies there.
For the leaves in the woodland and the gulls by the shore
Cry: |: The heart that is given no man may restore.

Now the fields are all empty, the hedgerows are bare,
Only wild desolation is all I find there.
I'll go down to the river to ease all my pain
And |: who knows, but I might find my dear ones again.

(June Tabor as The Mother)

I Once Lived in Service
(Peter Bellamy)

I once lived in service to a lady so fine
I've served her by night and by day-O
I've carried the dishes when the lady would dine
And after, I cleared them away

Oh dear me, how can it be?
The life of a servant is all slavery.

I've made up her bed and I turned down her sheets
I ironed the dresses she wore-O
I've peeled her potatoes, I've roasted her meats
And 'twas I, with me broom, swept her floor

Oh dear me, how can it be?
The life of a servant is all misery.

I scrubbed her front doorstep, I polished her plate
I put coals in the pan for her bed-O
I've rose before sunlight to blacklead her grate
And at midnight I've laid down my head

Oh dear me, how can it be?
The life of a servant is all drudgery.

I've carried her water, I've answered her door
I've polished the shoes for her feet-O
And when she went to church, then her prayer-book I bore
Behind as she marched down the street

Oh dear me, how can it be?
The life of a servant's a penance to me.

Now, I met a young man in the village one day
As I run to the shop for her bread-O
He's asked me my name, but I had to away
Lest me mistress should break me poor head

Oh dear me, how can it be?
The life of a servant has no liberty.

So that night as I lay in my attic so bare
I resolved that I would run away-O
And all for to honour the waggoner's fare
Some silver spoons took for me pay

Oh dear me, how can it be?
The life of a servant is melancholy.

Now I lie in prison but I will not weep
Who knows what tomorrow may hold-O
There's some fine lads in here for me company to keep
There's strong arms to keep me from cold

Oh dear me, how can it be?
The life of a convict is all chivalry!

Now I've known confinement the most of me years
Small freedom did I ever ken-O
Some prisons, sure, they have no cold iron bars
But some prisons, why, they have no men!

Oh dear me, how can it be?
The life of a convict's a pleasure to me
Dear me, how can it be?
The life of a servant was never so free!

(Norma Waterson as Susannah)

The Black and Bitter Night
(Peter Bellamy)

It is cold, sad, and lonely in this dismal cell;
No solace comes up with the day.
My heart knows an anguish that no tongue can tell
Since they've taken my true love away

Chorus (after each verse):
Oh, the black and bitter night and oh, the weary day
My love has been snatched far, far from my sight
And the transports will bear her away

When first in this prison so deep was my pain
Then she came and she banished dismay
But now in despondence I'm drowning again
For they've taken my true love away

Though surrounded by horrors yet we found delight,
For where love is, no sorrow can stay.
But misery and squalor swim back to my sight
Now they've taken my true love away

Why, the grasses still grow and the streams still down flow
And the blackbird still sings on the spray
But in dank, deary dungeons there's nothing but woe
Since they've taken my true love away

Well, if I were a seagull, I'd fly to her side,
And it's there that I wish I could stay.
But soon the cruel prison ships leave with the tide
And they've bearing my true love away

If I were a herring I'd wait by the slip
Though I waited a year and a day.
Then through the wide ocean I'd follow the ship
That is bearing my true love away

So lovers, cling fast to each pleasure you find
And cherish each moment of play
For all you will have is what stays in your mind
Once they've taken my true love away

(Mike Waterson as Henry)

The Green Fields of England
(Peter Bellamy)

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 (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!

(Peter and Anthea Bellamy with Mike and Norma Waterson singing chorus, as The Transports)

The Friendship a ship of The First Fleet

Sweet Loving Friendship
(Peter Bellamy)

If you look out from some high, high window
You will see the sun set beyond the town;
You will see the rooks to the tree-tops screaming
And the wing of evening come folding down.

Between the morning and the evening,
Between the Springtime and the Winter drear,
There comes a time of new beginnings,
When sweet loving friendship drives away all fear.

There is many here they know nought but sorrow
And like the beasts they live from day to day.
But we can think on a bright tomorrow
Since sweet loving friendship drives all grief away.

All hope in prison, it soon will smother
If none will with you your sorrow share.
But we cling fast to one each other
And sweet loving friendship banishes despair.

Just like the sailor when his ship makes harbour,
Just like the traveller who finds an inn,
What care they if the wind blows harder
When they be safe and warm within?

No lonely convict can resist the darkness
Just as no sailor can the driving rain
But find a comrade for to share your fastness
And sweet loving friendship will ease your pain.

So if you look out from some high, high window
And see the sun set beyond the sky,
You need not mourn at the coming shadow
If some loving friend is standing nigh.

(Mike and Norma Waterson as Henry and Susannah)
 

The Humane Turnkey I
(Peter Bellamy)

“Come rise you up, John Simpson,” the governor did say,
“These scum are chained and ready, and it's time you was away;
Three woman and a `farthing-child', to Plymouth they are bound,
And you must be their escort 'til they reach that distant town.”

When me and these poor convicts did arrive at Plymouth strand,
I marched them up onto the deck all chain-ed hand to hand.
The captain saw us come aboard and he did prove unkind,
“The women come,” he did declare, “But the infant stays behind.”

This proud unfeeling seaman, Captain Gilbert was his name,
Oh, to see a babe abandoned so, I swore it was a shame;
I wrapped it up in my great-coat, to the coach I went straightway
And I started out for London Town without no more delay.

The Humane Turnkey II
(PeterBellamy)

Now when I came to London, having rode two hundred mile,
To see a turnkey nurse a babe, it cause the crowd to smile
But hearings its sad history, it made the crowd to groan,
And many a worthy citizen swore justice would be done.

Then up and spoke a gentleman and loudly did declare
That only one man in the land could settle the affair.
So to Lord Sydney's house I went, the crowd did follow on,
For they swore they would see Charity before the day was done.

When we came to Lord Sydney's house, it was the hour of nine,
We all came bursting in on him as he sat down to dine.
He listened to my story and his countenance was grave,
Then declared that ere the week was out, the family would be saved.

Lord Sydney wrote two letters and he signed them with his hand,
One to Plymouth, one to Norwich, bidding them to understand
That young Cabell and the baby with Susannah were to go
As a united family unto that distant shore.

Now I'm home again in Norwich but some other trade I'll seek
As a coachman or a waggoner, a shopman or a sweep,
Perhaps I'll take the shilling or go wear the jacket blue.
There's no trade but it's the kinder, so locks and bars, adieu!

(Martin Carthy as the Turnkey)

The Still and Silent Ocean
(Peter Bellamy)

Across the still and the silent ocean
Our ship she finds her way alone.
The crew they make no loud commotion,
The chain-ed transports they make no moan.
All black despair do lie behind us
And what awaits us no man may know.
Of those dark days nought can remind us
New worlds are waiting to which we go.

Are we in chains? We do not feel them.
Are we ill-quartered? We don't complain.
Do we have guards? We do not see them.
Do we have sickness? We fell no pain.
For the night is passed, new days are dawning,
Winter is over and Spring draws nigh.
What's done is done, there's no time for mourning,
What's lost is lost, and there's no time to sigh.

God bless those tender-hearted creatures
Who brought us back to our own again.
Good health to all whose kind deeds did reach us,
Good luck to them who did ease our pain.
Glad fortune come to Mrs Jackson,
To bold John Simpson and Lord Sydney too;
Almighty God, do spare and keep them
And grant them peace when their days are through.

Come all you poor benighted convicts,
Come join us in our present joy;
Come all you seamen who sail the tropics,
Rejoice with us that our goal is nigh.
When we're ashore the priest will wed us
As soon as we do reach the strand;
Salute the captain who here has led us
To the hopeful pastures of Van Diemen's Land!

Roll Down
(Peter Bellamy)
 

Ye ladies of Ply-mouth, we bid you good-bye,
Roll-oll, roll-oll-oll down!
We will rock you and roll you again by and by,
Walk a-round, me brave boys, and roll down!

Chorus:
And we'll roll-oll, roll-oll-oll down,
Walk a-round, me brave boys, and roll down!

The anchor's away and the sails are unfurled,
Roll-oll, roll-oll-oll down!
We're bound for to sail her halfway 'round the world,
Walk a-round, me brave boys, and roll down! (Chorus)

In the deep Bay of Biscay the seas do run high,
Roll-oll, roll-oll-oll down!
Them poor weary transports they'll wish they could die,
Walk a-round, me brave boys, and roll down! (Chorus)

When the great southern whales on our quarter do spout,
Roll-oll, roll-oll-oll down!
Them poor weary transports, they'll goggle and shout,
Walk a-round, me brave boys, and roll down! (Chorus)

When at last we draw near to Australia's bold strand,
Roll-oll, roll-oll-oll down!
Them poor weary transports, they'll long for the land,
Walk a-round, me brave boys, and roll down! (Chorus)

Then, sweet ladies of Plymouth, we'll pay all your rent,
Roll-oll, roll-oll-oll down!
And go roving no more till our money's all spent, 
Walk a-round, me brave boys, and roll down! (Chorus x2)

(Cyril Tawney as The Shantyman)

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