Musings on Life / Social Comment

The time passes over more cheerful and gay
Since we’ve learned a new act to drive sorrows away
Sorrows away, sorrows away, sorrows away
Since we’ve learned a new act to drive sorrows away

Bright Phoebe awakes so high up the sky
With her red rosy cheeks and her sparkling eye
Sparkling eye, sparkling eye, sparkling eye
With her red rosy cheeks and her sparkling eye

If you ask for my credit you’ll find I have none
With my bottle and friend you will find me at home
Find me at home, find me at home, find me at home
With my bottle and friend you will find me at home

Although I’m not rich and although I’m not poor
I’m as happy as those that’s got thousands or more
Thousands or more, thousands or more, thousands or more
I’m as happy as those that’s got thousands or more

Now is the time for marching, now let your hearts be gay,
Hark to the merry bugles sounding along our way.
So let your voices ring my boys, and take the time from me,
And I’ll sing you a song as we march along, of Sussex by the sea!

For we’re the men from Sussex, Sussex by the sea.
We plough and sow and reap and mow, and useful men are we;
And when you go to Sussex, whoever you may be,
You can tell them all that we stand or fall for Sussex by the sea!

Sussex, Sussex by the sea! (By the sea!) Good old Sussex by the sea!
You may tell them all that we stand or fall for Sussex by the sea.

Light is the love of a soldier, that’s what the ladies say,
Lightly he goes a wooing, lightly he rides away.
In love and war we always are as fair as fair can be,
And a soldier boy is a lady’s joy in Sussex by the sea.

Sussex, Sussex by the sea! (By the sea!) Good old Sussex by the sea!
You may tell them all that we stand or fall for Sussex by the sea.

Far overseas we wander, wide o’er the world we roam;
Far from the kind hearts yonder, far from our dear old home;
But ne’er shall we forget my boys, and true we’ll ever be
To the girls so kind that we left behind in Sussex by the sea.

For we’re the men from Sussex, Sussex by the sea.
We plough and sow and reap and mow, and useful men are we;
And when you go to Sussex, whoever you may be,
You can tell them all that we stand or fall for Sussex by the sea!

Sussex, Sussex by the Sea! (By the Sea!) Good old Sussex by the sea!
You may tell them all that we stand or fall for Sussex by the sea.

You may sing to me of the wolds of Kent,
Of Devonshire lanes and their sweet content,
I know nothing of these to their detriment,
Nor of Surrey’s greenery.

You may praise if you will the northern Dales,
The Cotswold hills and the peaks of Wales,
But give me the land of the channel gales,
The Sussex Downs for me!

Oh, I will climb to Mount Harry’s crown,
I’ll sniff the breeze on Amberley Down,
I will scale the slope of Woolston Berry
For the Sussex Downs are a-calling me.

When Adam was first created
And lord of the universe crowned,
His happiness was not completed
Until that a helpmate was found.
He had all things in life that were wanting,
To keep and support him in life,
He’d horses and foxes for hunting,
Which some men love more than their wife.

He’d a garden so planted by nature
Man cannot produce in this life,
And yet the all-wise Creator
Still saw that he wanted a wife.
Then Adam he lay in a slumber
And there he lost part of his side,
And when he awoke with a wonder,
He beheld his most beautiful bride.

In transport he gazèd upon her,
His happiness now was complete,
He praised his beautiful donor,
Who had thus bestowed him a mate.
She was not took out of his head, sir,
To reign and to triumph o’er man;
Nor was she took out of his feet, sir,
By man to be trampled upon.

But she was took out of his side, sir,
His equal and partner to be,
But as they’re united in one, sir,
The man is the top of the tree.
So let not the fair be despisèd
By man, as she’s part of himself,
For woman by Adam was prizèd
More than the whole world full of wealth.

Man without woman’s a beggar,
Suppose the whole world he possessed;
But the beggar that’s got a good woman
With more than the world he is blest.

As I was a-walking one morning at ease
A-viewing the leaves as they grew on the trees
All in full motion appearing to be
And those that had withered, they fell from the tree.

Chorus
What’s the life of a man any more than the leaves?
A man has his seasons so why should he grieve?
And though in this world he appears fine and gay
Down come the leaves and he’s soon blown away.

If you’d seen the leaves just a few days ago
So beautiful and bright they all seemed to grow
A frost came upon them and withered them all
A storm came upon them and down they did fall.

What’s the life of a man …

Down in the churchyard there you will see
Those that have passed like the leaves on the tree
Age and affliction has conquered them all
Death came upon them and down they did fall.

What’s the life of a man …

Come all fellow tradesmen that travel alone
O pray, can you tell me where the trade has all gone
Long time I have wandered, and cannot find none
And sing “Oh the hard times of old England
In old England, very hard times.”

Chorus
And it’s “Oh, the hard times of old England
In old England, very hard times.”

Provisions to buy in the shop, it is true
But if you’ve no money, there’s none there for you
So what’s a poor man and his family to do?

But sing “Oh the hard times of old England …”

If you go to a shop and you ask for a job
They’ll answer you there with a shake and a nod
It’s enough to make a poor man to turn out and rob

And sing “Oh the hard times of old England …”

You’ll see British workers a-walking the street
From morning ’til night for employment to seek
And scarcely they have any shoes to their feet

And sing “Oh the hard times of old England …”

Our soldiers and sailors return from the war
Been fighting for King and for count-ery sure
Come home to be starved, better’ve stayed where they were

And sing “Oh the hard times of old England …”

Well now to conclude and to finish my song
I hope that these hard times they will not last long
And I’ll have occasion to alter my song

And sing “Oh, the good times of old England
In old England, very good times!”

And it’s “Oh, the good times of old England
In old England, very good times!

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The songs provided are for enjoyment and learning purposes. Please note that these versions are not definitive; there are so many wonderful versions 'out there'. Please share your versions with us...

Welcome to the South Downs Music website; a platform enabling users to access folk songs from, and sung in, the Sussex area.

Please note: this website is a resource open to everyone, but if you download songs and material from this site and then perform these in public, you will need to be covered for PRS.

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