The First Day in October
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The First Day in October book
The theme and what might be described as the atmosphere o f these verses appears to be com pounded out o f three other songs, all o f which are concerned with an affray involving poachers and gamekeepers. For our purpose, the most important o f these three songs is ‘The Bold Poachers’ , which E. J . M oeran noted from Robert M iller o f Sutton, Norfolk, in 19 2 1. Its plot concerns three brothers who are tried for killing a gamekeeper and are sentenced, one to the gallows and the other two to transportation to a penal colony. It is obvious, even from this very brief resume, that the plot o f Mrs H ughes’s song differs substantially from the N orfolk piece. Nevertheless, the first two stanzas o f her song are full o f curious echoes o f the second to fifth stanzas o f ‘The Bold Poachers’ . Com pare ‘The First Day in O ctober’ with the relevant stanzas o f the M iller song as printed in J F S S , vol. V II, p. 15 :
1 Concerning of three young men One night in January Against our laws contrary A fortune (a-poaching) went straight way.