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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleNobleman and the thresher
Roud No.19
Collected FromUnknown
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 4 - Wiltshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Wt 336
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 20th November, 1915, p 2, Part 8, No. 3: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 138
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

A nobleman lived on a fine estate,
And he kept a thresher whose family was great;
He's a wife and seven children, the most of them small,
With nothing but his labour to maintain them all.

Verse 2

This nobleman went to the thresher one day,
Said he, "Honest thresher, come tell me, I pray!
Thou hast a wife and seven children, I know it is true,
How do you maintain them as well as you do?"

Verse 3

"Why, sometimes I reap and sometimes I mow,
And sometimes a-hedging and ditching I'll go;
There's nothing comes amiss to me - cart, harrow nor plough,
So my living I get by the sweat of my brow.

Verse 4

I go to my house when my day's work is done,
My children come round me with their prattling tongue;
My children come round me with their prattling toys,
Now this is the comfort a poor man enjoys.

Verse 5

My wife she is willing to join in the yoke,
We never do or the other provoke;
There's nothing to wonder at our being poor,
Though we manage to keep the wolf from the door."

Verse 6

"Now, as you speak so well of your family and wife,
I will make you happy for the rest of your life;
Fifty bright acres of land will I give unto thee,
To maintain thy wife and thy dear family."
Print Song Lyrics
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS / FSUT: 'A once popular song. It is very old, and the versions vary considerably. I have met with it at Brinkworth, Marlborough, Shrivenham, Berkshire and Broadwell, Oxfordshire.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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