Bold Poachers

by Isla Craig

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featuring Martha Farqhuar - Mcdonnell

Bold Poachers in an English folk song, one of many songs of its kind, that highlight the conflict between the land owners and the poachers who hunted on their lands in order to eat and feed their families.

There are many incarnations of this tune, but I first learned of it from Steeleye Span's reissue of Please to See the King.


Concerning of three young men
One night in January
According law's contrary
A-poaching went straight way

They were inclined to ramble
Amongst the moors and brambles
A-firing at the pheasants
Which brought the keepers nigh

The keepers dared not enter
Nor cared the woods to venture
But outside round the centre
In them old bush they stood

The poachers they were tired
And to leave they were desired
And at last young Parkins fired
and spilled one keeper's blood

Fast homeward they were making
Nine pheasants they were taking
When another keeper faced them
They fired at him also

He on the ground lay crying
Just like some person dying
With no assistance nigh him
May god forgive their crime

Then they were taken with speed
All for that inhuman deed
For them there was no reprieve
For in the court next day

The judge and jury tried us
and we poor pity cried us
Oh mercy don't deny us
We're not prepared to die

The jury they consulted
Some said we should be jailed
and others said transported
The judge thought we should die

There like before was never
Brothers condemned together
Brothers condemned together
Found guilty as they were

Exiled in transportation
Two of them across the ocean
And the third one hung as a token
May forgive their crime


released September 29, 2016
Martha Farquhar-Mcdonnell - vocals
Ian Kehoe - e bowed guitar

Recorded, Engineered and Mixed by Ian Kehoe

Originally released on the Feast in the East Cookbook compliation:



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Isla Craig Toronto, Ontario

Isla Craig is a vocalist and song writer living and working in Toronto, ON. She may be found playing solo, or aided by a band, and is also an active improviser and collaborator in the Toronto music scene. In addition to her solo work, she has released music as a member of electro-dub/trip-hop trio The Deeep (Not Not Fun Records), and OG Melody.

She is currently working on a new album (2016).
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