Big Cosgrove

Words by Dave Boulton, tune by Jeff Parton

This ballad was collected in a place called Abbey Hulton
But this one’s not a Child Ballad, this one’s an Adult’n
Turn off your Hi-Fi and TV, likewise the cursed Nintendo
And I’ll sing a song comprising mostly filth and innuendo 

Come listen to a stirring tale of passion and of power
There’s less than forty verses so it only lasts an hour
Concerning great Lord Wildblood and his lovely Lady Jane
And a man called Big Jack Cosgrove of great renown and fame

Now he wasn’t called Big Cosgrove ‘cause he had the strength of two
He was only four foot ten in height and six stone six wet through
Though small of frame he held the name because reputedly
His bright brown sword it wasn’t all that hung down by his knee

It came to pass one Whitsuntide a Sunday dower and dull 
Big Cosgrove he rode into town and he was on the pull 
For Lords and Ladies they came down from boudoir and from battle
To dance, romance and catch perchance a glimpse of Cosgrove’s  tackle

Lord Randal and Lord Ingram came, Lord Wildblood and his missus
Lord Lovell and Lord Bateman’s wives were trading showbiz kisses
But it seemed Big Cosgrove was delayed or might not show at all
And the crowd all cried “Ee Jack you’re late!” but that was premature

For he burst into the party and the crowd did raise a cry 
For his armour bright was much too tight, it pinched twixt groin and thigh
And there was music on the stair and the sounds of stirring song
Big Cosgrove walked a tiny giant through that milling throng

Now it fell out on a holiday as it oft-times had before 
But he quickly put it away again and hoped nobody saw
Then he strode up to the Lady Jane says, “Lady are you dancing”?
She says “Kind sir if you’re asking then yea verily I’m dancing”!

He took her by the lily-white hand, her fingers long and small
‘Cause the other one was short and fat and just not nice at all
He clutched her to his breastplate ‘til she chastised and implored  
Saying “Your weapon doth provoke me”, he says “Nay lass that’s my sword”

He joined her in a swift quadrille both rigorous and rough
With lusty looks she struts her funky medieval stuff
And breathlessly she whispers in the dance’s dying seconds
“Your sword doth still provoke me.” He says “Nay lass that‘s my weapon”

Well the hall was decked that eventide with horns and brazen trumpets 
But he wasn’t there for music but to see the brazen strumpets
And some went down in velveteen and some went down in lace
When Lady Jane went down it put a smile on Cosgrove’s face

He arranged to meet her later in a secret lover’s tryst
Jane turns up a half-hour late and Jack turned up half pissed
At the height of passion Lady Jane says “I hear someone coming”
Jack says “It isn’t me love so it might just be the plumbing”

But her husband burst into the room exuding might and main
He says “You’ve kissed my wedded wife you cad! You knave! You swain!”
Big Jack says “I‘ll deny that charge in front of a solic’ter
In fact about the only thing I haven’t done is kissed her”

Up speaks the Lord “I have two swords that cut through flesh and bone
And I shall have the best of them and you can get your own”
And the very first blow that Cosgrove struck just nicked Lord Wildblood’s neck
But the very first blow that Wildwood struck laid Cosgrove on the deck

She pulled away from Wildblood and fled to Cosgrove’s side
She placed her naked nubile form before his fading eyes
Miraculous effects occurred but not the ones desired
He was laid down and bolt upright at the moment he expired

So it came to pass Big Cosgrove he went to his God unbidden
They bought a lovely coffin but they couldn’t get the lid on
So they had the box extended but it the made the strangest scene
‘Cause it looked like they were burying a wooden submarine

Big Cosgrove he was buried in Ye Olde Robin Hood
But the grave it wasn’t deep enough the way it had been dug
But they planted Cosgrove anyway and rather than dig more
They left him with his periscope protruding through the floor

And people would trip over it when going to the bar
They’d spill their drinks and skin their knees, they spat and cursed and swore
You could do yourself an injury on that they all would say
Why don’t saw it off and throw the bloody thing away

But the landlord wouldn’t do it for he’d promised Lady Jane
That Cosgrove had a resting-place where e’er he could remain
Instead, he nailed a seat on top, the sentimental fool
When Lady Jane is in the mood you’ll find her in the Robin Hood 
Still dressed in all her mourning lace, a look of pleasure on her face
Sitting in her favourite place on Big Jack Cosgrove’s stool

© 1999 His Worship and the Pig

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