In Good Old Colony Times

DESCRIPTION: Three rogues (king's sons? miller, weaver, and tailor?) "fell into mishaps / because they could not sing." Eventually they turn to robbery. "The miller drowned in his dam / the weaver was hung in his yarn, and the devil clapped his claws on the tailor..."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1804 (broadside, Bodleian Johnson Ballads fol. 84)
KEYWORDS: robbery punishment death
FOUND IN: Britain(England(All),Scotland(Aber)) US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,Ro,SE,So)
REFERENCES (32 citations):
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, pp. 268-269, "The Three Rogues" (3 texts)
Randolph 112, "In the Good Old Colony Times" (1 text, 1 tune)
Eddy-BalladsAndSongsFromOhio 80, "The Three Rogues" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Neely/Spargo-TalesAndSongsOfSouthernIllinois, pp. 189-190, "In the Good Old Colony Days" (1 text)
Sackett/Koch-KansasFolklore, pp. 171-172, "The Three Rogues" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cazden/Haufrecht/Studer-FolkSongsOfTheCatskills 116, "The Three Rogues" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp-OneHundredEnglishFolksongs 80, "The Three Sons" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hubbard-BalladsAndSongsFromUtah, "Three Roguish Chaps" (1 text)
Kennedy-FolksongsOfBritainAndIreland 307, "Three Scamping Rogues" (1 text, 1 tune)
Broadwood/Maitland-EnglishCountySongs, pp. 20-21, "King Arthur" (1 text, 1 tune)
Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames, p. 194, "When Arthur Ruled This Land" (1 text) (also Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 384)
Palmer-EnglishCountrySongbook, #31, "Good King Arthur" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud/Bishop-NewPenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs #113, "Three Sons of Rogues" (2 texts, 1 tune, although the second text is short and could be something else)
Greig/Duncan3 704, "Oh the Miller He Stole Corn" (5 texts, 4 tunes)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 188, "The Three Rogues" (1 text plus 2 excerpts and mention of 1 more)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 188, "The Three Rogues" (2 excerpts, 2 tunes)
Chappell-FolkSongsOfRoanokeAndTheAlbermarle 108, "The Old King and His Three Sons" (1 text, 1 tune)
Moore/Moore-BalladsAndFolkSongsOfTheSouthwest 63, "In Good Old Colony Times" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bronner/Eskin-FolksongAlivePart1 14, "Three Roguish Chaps" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 1, "In Good Old Colony Times" (1 text, 1 tune)
Pound-AmericanBalladsAndSongs, 116, pp. 234-235, "In Good Old Colony Times" (1 text)
Cox-FolkSongsSouth 166, "The Three Rogues" (1 text plus mention of 1 more)
Bush-FSofCentralWestVirginiaVol3, pp. 7-9, "The County of Kerry" (1 text, 1 tune)
Boette-SingaHipsyDoodle, p. 44, "Three Roguish Chaps" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders/Brown-VermontFolkSongsAndBallads, p. 103, "The Farmer's Three Sons" (2 fragments)
Linscott-FolkSongsOfOldNewEngland, pp. 213-214, "In Good Old Colony Times" (1 text, 1 tune)
Arnett-IHearAmericaSinging, p. 7, "Old Colony Times" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-TreasuryOfNewEnglandFolklore, p. 531, "Old Colony Times" (1 text, 1 tune)
Jack-PopGoesTheWeasel, p. 48, "Good King Arthur" (1 short text, a floating fragment sometimes found with "Johnny Lad (I)" and sometimes with "In Good Old Colony Times")
ADDITIONAL: The Quaver; or Songster's Pocket Companion (London, 1844 ("Digitized by Google")), p. 287, "King Arthur Had Three Sons" (1 text)
Evelyn Foster Morneweck (Stephen Foster's niece), _Chronicles of Stephen Foster's Family_, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1944, ppp. 42-43, "The Three Rogues" (1 text, allegedly from Stephen Foster's father)

Roud #130
George Maynard, "Three Sons of Rogues" (on Maynard1, Voice07)
Bodleian, Johnson Ballads fol. 84, "The Miller, Weaver, and Little Tailor ("In good king Arthur's days")," Laurie and Whittle (London), 1804
LOCSheet, sm1878 07980, "Old Colony Times," John Church & Co. (Cincinnati), 1878 (tune)
LOCSinging, as104730, "Good Old Colony Times," L. Deming (Boston), n.d.

Gin-Sling (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 21)
King Arthur
Three Jolly Rogues
Three Jolly Rogues of Lynn
When Bold King Edward
King Arthur's Servants
In Good King Arthur's Days
When Arthur Ruled this Land
The Little Tailor Dick
The Miller's Sons
NOTES [200 words]: Botkin has a report that this was quoted by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to the Reichstag in 1888. Allegedly Bismarck learned it from a friend in 1832. I do not know how the latter could be verified, but it is certain that Bismarck knew the song. Lyle Lofgren forwarded to me a note from Eamonn Noonan, mentioning that Bismarck's recitation (which he dates to 1889) was recorded and has now been publicly released; there was actually a story about it in the New York Times.
One has to suspect that this has had a complex history of moving between the broadside press and the folk; how else can one explain its tendency to take on new settings, from King Arthur's court (very common in British settings) to the American colonies to "Lynne" (King's Lynn?).
The song is also quoted by Thomas Hardy in Under the Greenwood Tree (a single "King Arthur" stanza in chapter 2, "Honey-taking, and Afterwards," of Part IV, "Autumn"). And it apparently was known in Stephen Foster's family. - RBW
Broadside Bodleian Johnson Ballads fol. 84: "A much admired song sung by Mr Chas Johnston, & proper to be sung at all Musical Clubs." In this version "Three Sons of Whores were turn'd out of doors ...." - BS
Last updated in version 6.0
File: R112

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