I can remember first hearing the tune of "Helston Furry Dance" played by a brass band way back in the 1940's on a wet Sunday afternoon whilst listening to "Down your way" on BBC. It was only in 1999 when leafing through Folk Songs of the British Isles
that I became aware that it was in fact a folk song, I had always thought that it was an instrumental folk air. Andrew Gant says that the version I sing originates from "A collection of English Country Airs" (1838). This traditional Cornish song is part of the celebration of the coming of spring on May 8th, involving collecting flowers at dawn, forcing anyone working in the fields to leap over (or into) the river, and dancing in and out of all the houses in the village.
The lyrics are very jolly and decidedly jingoistic in accordance with the temperament of the times. The third verse for example records that Those Frenchmen they make such a boast, they shall eat the grey goose feather, oh and we
(the Cornish/British take your pick) will eat up all the roast in every land where're we go