A Ballad – The Lads of the Tees

Old Sagittarius, stuck in the sky  

To serve as a watchman as well as a spy.  

On finding our archers excel those above,  

In envious spite gallop’d off to tell Jove.  

Great king of the gods can you bear to look down

And see your great favorites of old so outdone

No more will your Trojans and Grecians please,  

When eclips’d’ by the feats of these ‘Lads of the Tees.’      


Jove rose in a rage and call’d out for Apollo,

And entreated that he would old Fourlegs follow

And examine if what he’d reported was true;

Then away to the banks of the Tees the god flew;

It happen’ d the arrow was shot for that day,

When the archers appeared in their nicest array;

Their sports and their mirth did his godship so please,

He resolved to stop with the ” Lads of the Tees.”  


Next morning old Jupiter sent out his scout,  

Winged Hermes to know what Apollo was about;  

Who swift as an eagle, headlong dashed forth  

To enquire why the god staid so long upon earth;

Oh ! I’ve found, cried Apollo, some lads to my mind.  

They’re gentle, they’re courteous, they’re social and kind;  

They shoot like us gods, and their songs me so please;  

I’ll never more quit these brave ” Lads of the Tees.”  


With the god of the bow and of music so near,

Triumphant our course, for no rival we fear;

With so splendid a model of grace and of art,

Emulation alone do we need on our part;

Now let us avoid all vain squabbles and strife,

And our science will gild the dull evening of life;

Aud hoary old age feel a glow when he sees

His sons are enrolled ‘mong the ” Lads of the Tees.”  


This is an admirable archery song, and is evidently the emanation of some superior mind whose name is to me unknown. It appears in that excellent selection of sporting lyrics— Charles Armiger’s Sportsmans Vocal Cabinet. 1830.

Taken from Holroyds Collection of Yorkshire Ballads. 1892

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