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Words and Melody: Adrian Renton (2018)

This song is inspired by Piers Plowman; a complex and satirical allegory written by William Langland around 1370, which denounces the greed, falsehood and hypocrisy of the Church and State in England, and also gives the first recorded mention of Robin Hood.  The song structure is drawn from the Prologue. In this version, a number of current politicians are the clowns near the dungeon, which is separated from the Tower by the Folk


In Global warmed Tendring, I lay down by Stour’s sweet river,

Tired with walking, eyes half closed, I heard waters sliding by.

Falling into deepest sleep, I dreamed I’s on an island,

Lying in a soft sea, at the centre of the world and sky.


In the east I saw a fine tower, with a blue starred flag a ’flying,

High with hope upon a-hill, where-nature’s living things abound.

Far below, I saw a dark dale, with a putrid dungeon spewing   

Misery and pain into the ditches all around.

In between there lay a fair plain full of folk both rich and poor.

Some working for wages to win that which wasters by gluttony and greed destroy.

Near the dungeon a troupe of clowns dressed in friars and wise men gowns,

Preaching to people to profit to themselves and to keep…

The Bumpkins down.


That’s Johnson the Joker and Jacob the Moggy, Dominic Rabble and Michael the Cove, 

Jonny the Deadwood behind all the others, Running the money and driving the drove. 

Nowhere to be seen were Good Faith or Reason, Just spivs seeking profit in this crazy fractured season,  

They come from the dark side this troupe of clowns, Dressed in friars and wise men gowns, 

Lying to people to profit to themselves and to keep…

The Bumpkins down.

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