When George III Was King

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Suggested air:  [545Notation]

In the days when George the Third was king,  [Note 545.1]
Of which we've heard so much,
About the poor folk eating beef,
And drinking ale and such;
The poor man was unfettered then,
And always had his fling,
I wish those days would come again,
When George the Third was king.
(repeat  "When George the Third was king." to fit suggested air)

Chorus. When George the Third was king, my boys,
                When George the Third was king,
                Ah! those were jolly times, my boys,
                When George the third was king
                (repeat  "When George the Third was king." to fit suggested air)

In the days when George the Third was king,
The gentlemen would give
Roasted Oxen all away,
To help the poor to live,
That was instead of poor rates
And a great deal better thing,
They had no need of workhouses¹,
When George the Third was king.

In the days when George the Third was king,
'Fore Stevenson was born;  [Note 545.2]
When coaches did not run by steam-
But by horses they were drawn,
They had us (sic) blue policemen then,
They needed no such thing;
For there was no garrotters¹,
When George the Third was king.

In the days when George the Third was king,
Before game laws were made, [Note 545.3]
There lived some honest dealing folk,
Who called a spade a spade,
A poor man could shoot a hare,
Or bird upon the wing.
And not be shot by a gamekeepers  
When George the Third was king,

 

Sources (texts, music) & Publishing data

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Origin Broadside
Source Title When George the Third was King
Bargery Number 545
Roud V7968
Earliest Date 1856
Evidence for Earliest Date First "garrotter" panic was in 1856 (see garrotters¹). A song printed on the same broadside ( 'Just What W'ed All Like to See' Roud V44202) mentions the educationalist George Dixon so the broadside was probably printed c1868
Comments on Song The song is a derivative of 'When This Old Hat Was New' {Roud 7841}. George III was held in famously low public esteem, so it might be a making a comparison in favour of the government of his time - and critical of the contemporaneous government. George had a long reign and several prime ministers but Pitt the Younger, a Tory, is the stand-out option. The Liberals were in power in 1859-65 with Palmerston as Prime Minister (another unpopular character; when 'Pam' died bonfires were lit in celebration). So this may be a political dig at the Liberals, among them Joseph Chamberlain a prominent Liberal in Birmingham, where the sheet was printed.
Source of Text G.R. Axon Broadside Collection (Chetham's Lib., Manchester) item 97
Music (Given or Suggested) No tune given. The suggested tune is one for a version of Roud 7814 collected from the oral tradition
Music Notation The music for the first and list lines of the verse have been added to give the air for the chorus
Performer 'Young Glover'
Where Printed Birmingham
First Line In the days when George the Third was king

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