Known in Scotland as “Archie O’ Cawfield” this song tells the story of an outlaw who is aided in escaping prison in the late 1700s and has a very happy ending! It has been well documented: [ Roud 83 ; Child 188 ; G/D 2:244 ; Ballad Index C188 ; Bodleian Roud 83 ; Mudcat 9037 ; trad.]
[D] It was in the chil-ly month of March
[G] Just as the flowers grew under the arch,
[G] A castle was built upon Kensal Green
[D] All for to put Bold Archer in.
Now our brother in prison do lay
Con-demned to die is he
If I had e-leven such brothers this day
It is Bold Archer I’d set free.
Eleven, says Richard, is not enough
Full forty brave la-ds there must be;
The chain and the bars will have to be broke
Before Bold Archer – you can set free.
Ten for to stand by our horses’ reins
And ten for to guard us round about,
And ten for to stand by the cas-tle door
And ten for to bring Bold Archer out.
Now Dickie broke locks and Dickie broke bars
Dickie broke every-thing he could see
He took Bold Archer under his arm
And carried him off most manfully.
They mounted their horses, away they did ride
Archie, he mounted his horse likewise.
They rode till they came to their fa-mily
And there they dismoun-ted bold and free.
And th-ere they ordered the music to play
It played so sweet and joy-fully
The very first dancer of that day
It was Bold Archer, whom they’d set free.