Hal An Tow jig

There are 4 recordings of this tune.

Hal An Tow has been added to 10 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Hal An Tow
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Fmaj

Seven comments

Hal An Tow

I was looking for a tune to this song and found an ABC version but my ABC is not working at the moment so I hoped you would be able to convert it for me…

Source: http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=4211#22577

The Hal-An-Tow

This is the version together with the tune, sung at Helston in Cornwall on May 8th each year

Robin Hood and Little John
They both are gone to Fair O
And we will go to the merry green wood
To see what they do there O
And for to chase O to chase the buck and doe.

Hal and Tow Jolly Rumble O!
For we are up as soon as any day O
And for to fetch the summer home
The summer and the May O
For summer is a come O
And winter is a gone O

Where are those Spaniards
That make so great a boast O
They shall eat the grey goose feather
And we will eat the roast O
In every land O
The land where’er we go.
Hal an tow……etc

As for that good knight St. George
St.George he was a knight O
Of all the knights in Christendom
St.George he is the right O
In every land O
The land where’er we go.
Hal an tow……etc

But to a greater than St. George
Our Helston has a right O
St. Michael with his wings outspread
The archangel so bright O
Who fought the fiend O
Of all mankind the foe!
Hal an tow……etc

The following verse is not sung now as we believe ‘Aunt Mary Moses or Moyses (a Cornish surname) referred to a local character used as a cloak for the royalist ‘God Bless King Charles’.

God bless Aunt Mary Moses
And all her power and might O
And send us peace in merry England
Both day and night O
And send us peace in merry England
Both now and evermore O!
Hal an tow……etc
There is a Cornish translation by Talek in Peter Kennedy’s folk songs of Britain and Ireland and while no Cornishman would challenge a Talek tanslation, the words do not scan easily to the tune. Single syllable words have to stretch over too many notes and Vyghan (little) sounds strange on one crochet.
Sing the song lustily and loud and your audience will be singing the chorus all the way home.

The Oysterband version did have that last verse in it and didn’t bother with either of those st George verses. I much prefer it that way!

As has already been said this site is not here to convert your ABCs. It is also not a repository for English folk songs and your submission will, I hope, be deleted.

Blimey "No Cause", I kind of agree with the sentiment but can’t help feeling your being a little hard, very cyberman even.

Haha. Well I wouldn’t normally be so abrupt and don’t normally care about submissions of "non-Irish" tunes but I guess I found the reasoning behind it a bit cheeky at best. Also the Hanoverian sentiment in leaving out the last verse is too much for any decent person to take! 🙂

I do find it interesting though, on reading it again that Liz appears to have missed the point behind leaving out the "God Bless King Charles" verse taking it for disapproval of royalty when, in fact, it would just be disapproval of a particular royal line (the legitimate one - as much as any notion of royalty is legitimate).

I appreciate that this is not an Irish tune but I have played celtic music for well over 25 years. I originally learnt the Oyster Band version but when I found this one linking so strongly to the Cornish tradition thought it fit the Celtic theme. I realise that I have done my usual trick of almost ignoring the words in favour of what I think is a catchy tune. But I do take note of the comments about "the session isn’t just an ABC converter" and really appreciate that someone had to take my non-Irish but strongly linked Cornish tune and turn it into something i could read. This is only the third thing I have ever posted here. The other two are both dance tunes inspired by the Irish tradition. Hanoverian and all that stuff doesn’t mean much to me. I just like a good tune but I considered myself duly reprimanded and apologise for any hurt or harm I have done to other ‘sessioners’ sensibilities.

Another missing verse to Hal-An-Tow

I have heard this verse sung, usually as the first

Take no scorn to wear the horn
It was the crest when you was born
Your father’s father wore it
And your father wore it too

(Note it is four lines not six. Quite often sung in this format)

This verse doesn’t appear in the Helston version as far as know

A very near neighbour to this is found in Act 4 of "As You Like It" I suspect it was already very old

Second Lord (sings)
What shall he have that killed the deer?
His leather skin and horns to wear.
Then sing him home.
(The rest shall bear this burden.)
Take thou no scorn to wear the horn.
It was a crest ere thou wast born.
Thy father’s father wore it,
And thy father bore it.
The horn, the horn, the lusty horn
Is not a thing to laugh to scorn.

Also, quite often, the verses are four lines long rather than six
Probably, it’s an ancient Cornish song, not an English one