1] A poem set to music as "Trelawny," and informally the national anthem of Cornwall. Jonathan Trelawny (1650-1721), bishop of Bristol, was one of seven bishops jailed in the Tower of London by James II in 1688 for opposing the king's permissive legislation towards Roman Catholics. On June 30, the bishops went on trial for libel and were acquitted, a cause for celebration in the west country. Hawker himself notes: "With the exception of the choral lines: --
`And shall Trelawny die?and which have been ever since the imprisonment, by James the Second, of the seven bishops, one of them Sir Jonathan Trelawny, a popular proverb throughout Cornwall, the whole of this song was composed by me in the year 1825. I wrote it under a stag-horned oak, in Sir Beville's Walk, in Stowe Wood. It was sent by me anonymously to a Plymouth paper, and there it attracted the notice of Mr. Davies Gilbert, who reprinted it at his private press at East Bourne, under the avowed impression that it was the original ballad. It had the good fortune to win the eulogy of Sir Walter Scott, who also deemed it to be the ancient song. It was praised under the same persuasion by Lord Macaulay, and by Mr. Dickens, who inserted it at first as of genuine antiquity in his "Household Words," but who afterwards acknowledged its actual paternity in the same publication."
Here's twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!'
13] Tamar: river marking the boundary between Cornwall and Devon, running east of Morwenstow on the Cornish coast and emptying into Plymouth Sound.
14] Severn: river running from the Cambrian mountains and emptying into Bristol Channel.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Rev. R. S. Hawker, The Cornish Ballads And
other Poems (Oxford and London: James Parker, 1869): 1-2. Facsimile Reproduction
with an intro. by Kay J. Walter and Terence Allan Hoagwood. Delmar, N.Y.:
Scholars' Facsimiles, 1994. PR 4759 H9C6 1869a Robarts Library
First publication date: 1826
Publication date note: The Royal Devonport Telegraph and Plymouth Chronicle (Sept. 2, 1826), anonymously. Charles Dickens acknowledged Hawker's authorship on Nov. 20, 1852, in Household Words.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/4/29
Composition date note: C. E. Byles, The Life and Letters of R. S. Hawker (New York: John Lane, 1906): 23.
Other poems by Robert Stephen Hawker