The Winlaton Calling-On Song

This the full wording of the calling-on song as formerly used to introducte the Winlaton sword dancers, as notated by Cecil Sharp in 1913.

Good people give ear to my story;
I’ve called here to see you by chance,
And I’ve brought five lads blithe and bonny,
Intending to give you a dance.
Winlaton is our habitation,
The place we were all born and bred,
There’s no finer boys in the nation,
And none so gallantly led

The first is the son of bold Elliot,
The first youth to enter the ring,
And, I’m proud and rejoicing to tell it,
He fought for his country and King,
He would conquer or else he would die;
Bold Elliot defended the place;
Their plans he soon caused them to alter,
Some fled and some fell in disgrace.

Now my next handsome youth for to enter,
He’s a lad we’ve got very few such;
His father beat the great Duke of Wintle,
And fought the great fleet of the Dutch.
His father was the Lord Duncan,
Who played the Dutch ne’er so a prank
That they from their harbours went shrieking,
And fled to the Doggerty Bank.

The next is so bold a descendant,
Lord Nelson, who fought on the Nile;
Few men had more courage or talent;
The Frenchmen he did them beguile.
When the Frenchmen they nearly decoyed him,
The battle he managed so well,
In the fortress he completely destroyed them;
Scarce one did get home for to tell.

Now my next handsome youth for to enter,
He’s a lad of abilities bright;
Ten thousand bright guineas I’ll venture
That he like his father would fight.
At Waterloo and Talavera
Lord Wellington made the French fly.
You’d scarcely could find such another,
He’d conquer or else he would die.

Now my last handsome youth for to enter,
He’s a lad that is straight and tall;
He’s a son to yon big Buonaparty,
The hero who conquered them all.
He went over the Lowlands like thunder;
Made nations to quiver and shake;
Many thousands stood gazing with wonder
At the havocs he always did make.

O now you see my five actors,
The only five actors so bold,
And they bear as good a character
As any did stand upon earth.
And if they’re as good as their sires,
Their deeds are deserving record;
So, lads, the company desires
To see how you handle your swords

It will be seen that this calling-on song is almost identical to that formerly used at Earsdon. Which used it first is a matter of controversy!

Further information