One of the first songs we learned when we started to sing together. It comes from the Copper family of Rottingdean, Sussex just before the turn of the century. They were singing their songs in harmony long before that, something relatively rare in the English tradition.
These words were composed by Spencer the Rover
Who traveled Great Britain and most parts of Wales
He had been so reduced, which caused great confusion
And that was the reason he went on the road.
In Yorkshire, near Rotherham, he had been on his rambles
Being weary of traveling, he sat down to rest
At the foot of yonder mountain there runs a clear fountain
With bread and cold water he himself did refresh.
It tasted more sweeter than the gold he had wasted
More sweeter than honey and gave more content
But the thoughts of his babies, lamenting their father
Brought tears to their eyes which made him lament.
The night fast approaching, to the woods he resorted
With woodbine and ivy his bed for to make
There he dreamt about sighing, lamenting and crying
Go home to your family and rambling forsake.
On the fifth of November, I've a reason to remember
When first he arrived home to his family and wife
They stood so surprised, when first he arrived
To behold such a stranger once more in their sight.
Then his children come around him with their prittle prattling stories
With their prittle prattling stories to drive care away
Now they work together, like ants in one labor
Like bees in one hive, contented they'll be.
So now he is living in his cottage contented
With woodbine and roses growing all around his door
He's as happy as those that have thousands of riches
Contented he'll stay and go rambling no more.