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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleHusbandman and the servingman
Roud No.873
Collected FromMessenger, Charles
LocationLatton
CountyWiltshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 4 - Wiltshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Wt 512
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 6th November 1915, p 2, Part 7, No. 3: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 112 – 115
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Serving man

Verse 1

Well met! Well met! My friend,
All on the highway riding
So simply alone as you stand;
Oh, pray! Come tell to me
What calling you might be?
Oh, are you not a serving man?

Husband man

Verse 2

Oh no, my brother dear!
What makes thee to inquire
Of any such thing at my hand?
Indeed! I'll not refrain
But I will tell thee plain,
I am a downright husband man.

Serving man

Verse 3

If a husband man you be,
Pray! Come along with me,
So instantly out of hand;
For I think within some space,
I will take you to a place
Where you can be a serving man.

Husband man

Verse 4

As for thy diligence
I return thee many thanks,
I require no such things at my hand;
But something to me show,
Whereby that I may know
The pleasures of a serving man.

Serving man

Verse 5

Why! A serving man has pleasure
Beyond all measure,
With the cup and the glass in his hand;
The meat that he doth eat,
And the game that he doth keep -
That's the pleasure for a serving man.

Husband man

Verse 6

My pleasure's more I know,
To see my corn to grow,
And so thriving it grows on the land;
So, therefore, I do mean
To go ploughing with my team,
To keep myself a husband man.

Serving man

Verse 7

Kind sir! It's a fine thing
To ride out with the king,
Lord, duke, earl, or any such one;
To hear the horns to blow,
See the hounds all in a row -
That's your pleasure for a serving man.

Husband man

Verse 8

My pleasure's more than that,
To see my oxen fat,
And a stack of good hay by them stand,
My ploughing and my sowing,
My reaping and my mowing -
That's the pleasure for a husband man.

Serving man

Verse 9

Kind sir! Then we do wear
Things costly, rich and rare,
Our coats all gold lace have got on;
Our shirts as white as milk,
Our stockings they are silk -
That's your habit for a serving man.

Husband man

Verse 10

As for thy gaudy gear,
Give me the clothes I wear,
Green bushes to trample upon;
Give me a good great coat,
And in my purse a groat -
That's your habit for a husband man.

Serving man

Verse 11

Lind sir! Then we do eat
Such delicate, fine meat -
Our turkey cock, capon and swan;
And after we do dine
We drink of the best wine -
That's your living for a serving man.

Husband man

Verse 12

As for your cock and capon,
Give me some beans and bacon,
And a pot of good ale now and then;
For, in a farmer's house,
There is good ham and souse -
That's your living for a husband man.

Serving man

Verse 13

Kind sir! It would be bad
If there none could be had
The table to wait upon;
There is neither lord or king,
Nor any gentleman,
Could do without a serving man.

Husband man

Verse 14

Kind sir! It would be wuss
If there were none of us
For to plough and to fallow the land;
For there is neither lord, duke or king,
Nor any gentleman
Could do without the husband man.

Serving man

Verse 15

Kind sir! I must confess,
And grant you your request,
And give you the uppermost hand;
Although it is so painful,
Your calling is most gainful -
I wish I was a husband man.

Husband man

Verse 16

Then come! Let us all
Together, great and small,
Pray for king and grain of the land;
Come! Let us for ever
Do our best to endeavour
To maintain the husband man.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'This ancient dialogue was the favourite of the rustics, especially at harvest homes, in Latton, and around the Thames Head at Kemble, Somerford Keynes and Oaksey. It is said to have originated in the extreme corner of North Wiltshire though there is no evident conformation of the theory. I obtained my copy of Thomas Dunn, Stratton St Margaret and Charles Messenger of Cerney Wick.'

Williams, Alfred: FSUT: 'This ancient dialogue was the favourite of the rustics, especially at harvest homes, in Latton, and around the Thames Head at Kemble, Somerford Keynes and Oaksey. I obtained my copy of Thomas Dunn, Stratton St Margaret and Charles Messenger of Cerney Wick.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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