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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitlePretty ploughing boy
Roud No.186
Collected FromCarpenter, Robert
LocationCerney Wick
CountyGloucestershire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 1 - Indexes and Berkshire: Williams, A: MS collection Bk 5
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 5th February, 1916, p 3, Part 17, No. 1
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

It's of a pretty ploughing boy stood gazing on his plough,
While his horses stood underneath the shade,
It was down in yonder grove he went whistling to his plough,
And by chance O there he spied a pretty maid.

Verse 2

And this was his song as he ploughed along,
"Pretty maid, you are of a high degree,
And if I should fall in love, and your parents not approve,
The next thing they'll send me to the sea."

Verse 3

As soon as her aged parents came to know,
That the ploughing boy was ploughing on the plain,
The press gang it was sent for and they pressed him away,
And sent him to the wars to be slain.

Verse 4

Then herself she dressed all in her very best,
And her pockets were well lined with gold,
She trudged the street with tears in her eyes,
A-searching for her jolly sailor bold.

Verse 5

The very first she met with was a jolly sailor -
"Have you seen my pretty ploughing boy?" she cried:
"He's just crossing the deep and sailing for the fleet,"
And he said, "My pretty maid will you ride?"

Verse 6

Then she rode till she came to the ship her true love was in,
And unto the captain did complain,
Said she, "I'm come to seek the pretty ploughing boy,
That was sent unto the wars to be slain."

Verse 7

A hundred bright guineas then she freely pulled out,
And so gaily she told them on the floor,
And when she had her ploughing boy in her arms again,
She hugged him till she'd got him safe ashore.

Verse 8

When she'd got her ploughing boy in her arms again,
Where he oft times had been before,
She set the bells to ring, and so sweetly she did sing,
When she met with the lad she did adore.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Williams, Alfred: Ms: 'Formerly an exceedingly popular song throughout the Thames villages. There are several versions of it with considerable variations. Of the three that I give the first was the best known as a matter of fact. I have not heard the second and third but at Highworth and Castle Eaton. Copy obtained of Jonas Wheeler, Buscot, Berkshire and Robert Carpenter of Cerney Field. Mr Carpenter gained the prize for singing this in a competition held at Kemble Flower Show in the year 1893.'

Williams, Alfred: WGS: 'Formerly an exceedingly popular song throughout the Thames villages. There are several versions of it with considerable variations. Of the three that I give the first was the best known as a matter of fact. I have not heard the second and third but at Highworth and Castle Eaton. Copy obtained of Jonas Wheeler, Buscot, Berkshire and Robert Carpenter of Cerney Field. Mr Carpenter gained the prize for singing this in a competition held at Kemble Flower Show in the year 1893.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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