The Ballad of Margaret Fell – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

Being an History in Verse of the Mother of the Societie of Friends. Meant For Musick or Plain Songge, mayhap with Guitarre or Squeze Bokse.

Come gather round Friends, I’ve a story to tell
of a seventeenth century north-country gel,
she fought for the poor and for women as well,
Yes, this is the ballad of Margaret Fell.

She’s born Margaret Askew in sixteen-fourteen
in the south of the lakes where the country is green
She wed Tom the lawyer when she turned eighteen
They loved one another and she bore him nine weans.

At Swarthmore the Fells were both known around town
For kind hospitality and never a frown
Though the world was unsteady, and turned upside down
They would welcome you in whether Cromwell or crown.

Chorus: Oh, Margaret Fell, Margaret Fell
She lived and she loved both wisely and well
She fought for the poor and for women as well,
Yes, this is the ballad of Margaret Fell.

George Fox came a-preaching in the year fifty-two
convincing the crowds of his radical view
that God is within us, in me and in you,
He won over hundreds, and Margaret too.

Now Fox and his Quakers had a difficult time
Imprisoned and tortured for not toeing the line
No bowing to masters, for all are divine:
The church was against them and that was a crime.

Chorus: Oh, Margaret Fell, Margaret Fell
She lived and she loved both wisely and well
She fought for the poor and for women as well,
Yes, this is the ballad of Margaret Fell.

So Margaret held meetings up at Swarthmore Hall
for Quakers, dissenters, whoever would call
Tom Fell never joined but defended them all
in courtrooms on charges both grievous and small.

When Thomas passed on in sixteen-fifty-eight,
Margaret inherited all his estate,
But her grief didn’t make all her passions abate,
No, she travelled and fought at a wondrous rate.

Chorus: Oh, Margaret Fell, Margaret Fell
She lived and she loved both wisely and well
She fought for the poor and for women as well,
Yes, this is the ballad of Margaret Fell.

She went down to London to see the new King,
Who promised a new age of liberty begin
for Quakers imprisoned for their worshipping,
that all across England he’d let freedom ring.

But sufferings continued without any cease
and she was arrested on a magistrate’s caprice
Refusing to swear oaths to keep the king’s peace
Four years behind bars til she won her release.

Chorus: Oh, Margaret Fell, Margaret Fell
She lived and she loved both wisely and well
She fought for the poor and for women as well,
Yes, this is the ballad of Margaret Fell.

Those years spent in prison she wrote for the cause
for women as equals within the church laws
as preachers and ministers, prophets and more
For God is in their heart as God is in yours.

Released by the King, Margaret travelled and fought
For thousands imprisoned, for freedom of thought
She married George Fox and then with him she taught
when the Spirit was in her, the World was as naught.

Chorus: Oh, Margaret Fell, Margaret Fell
She lived and she loved both wisely and well
She fought for the poor and for women as well,
Yes, this is the ballad of Margaret Fell.

At Swarthmore they planned out the new Quaker way
Between each arrest and each long prison stay
Then Act of Toleration of William and Ma(r)y
and all were released on that Glorious day.

Margaret Fell passed on in seventeen-oh-two
But Quakers go on though our numbers are few
We don’t speak of God much (though some of us do):
We’re Christians, atheists, Buddhists, and Jews.

We fight for equality, freedom to choose,
For conscripts and prisoners, for reds and for blues,
For those who have nothing, or nothing to lose,
For conscience and liberty, for me and for you.

Chorus: Oh, Margaret Fell, Margaret Fell
She lived and she loved both wisely and well
She fought for the poor and for women as well,
Yes, this is the ballad of Margaret Fell.


Written by Nick Barnes (he/him), originally from Soberton, now Cambridge. Get in touch with him via email! This project, Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land, is a series of stories written by Frank Turner fans, inspired by his new album No Man’s Land.


Sources:

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