The Helstone Furry-Day Song

[At Helstone, in Cornwall, the 8th of May is a day devoted to revelry and gaiety. It is called the Furry-day, supposed to be a corruption of Flora's day, from the garlands worn and carried in procession during the festival. A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for June, 1790, says, 'In the morning, very early, some troublesome rogues go round the streets [of Helstone], with drums and other noisy instruments, disturbing their sober neighbours, and singing parts of a song, the whole of which nobody now re-collects, and of which I know no more than that there is mention in it of the 'grey goose quill,' and of going 'to the green wood' to bring home 'the Summer and the May, O!'' During the festival, the gentry, tradespeople, servants, &c., dance through the streets, and thread through certain of the houses to a very old dance tune, given in the appendix to Davies Gilbert's Christmas Carols, and which may also be found in Chappell's Popular Music, and other collections. The Furry-Day Song possesses no literary merit whatever; but as a part of an old and really interesting festival, it is worthy of preservation. The dance-tune has been confounded with that of the song, but Mr. Sandys, to whom we are indebted for this communication, observes that 'the dance-tune is quite different.'

Robin Hood and Little John,
They both are gone to the 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.
With ha-lan-tow, rumble, O!
For we were 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.
With ha-lan-tow, &c