Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Sort Ascending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origins: The Mower

DigiTrad:
THE MOWER


Richard Mellish 19 May 24 - 03:30 AM
Reinhard 14 May 24 - 01:00 AM
RTim 13 May 24 - 04:25 PM
Joe Offer 13 May 24 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,Gayle Wade 06 Jul 21 - 08:46 AM
Joe Offer 05 Jul 21 - 03:49 PM
pavane 03 Oct 08 - 01:37 AM
pavane 03 Oct 08 - 01:37 AM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Oct 08 - 12:33 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Oct 08 - 09:03 PM
Jim Dixon 01 Oct 08 - 09:46 PM
SueH 22 Aug 01 - 08:17 AM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Jun 01 - 09:04 AM
Martin Graebe 27 Jun 01 - 02:16 AM
GUEST,SueH 26 Jun 01 - 05:12 AM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Jun 01 - 03:00 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Jun 01 - 10:40 AM
Bob Bolton 25 Jun 01 - 09:27 AM
Bat Goddess 25 Jun 01 - 09:24 AM
SueH 21 Jul 99 - 05:04 PM
SueH 21 Jul 99 - 12:38 PM
sue@questor-cp.demon.co.uk 13 Oct 98 - 04:10 PM
Susan of DT 12 Oct 98 - 02:32 PM
sue@questor-cp.demon.co.uk 12 Oct 98 - 03:45 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum Child
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: RE: Origins: The Mower
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 19 May 24 - 03:30 AM

I am fairly sure that I first heard The Mower not from Bert Lloyd but on the TV show Dig This Rhubarb. (I may even still have a recording, if I can find it.)

I am also fairly sure that the first verse included the line "I met a maid, she asked my trade ..." or similar, as in some of the versions quoted above, rather than as quoted by Joe 13 May 24 - 04:09 PM from the DT.

It makes more sense that she asks his trade, he tells her he's a mower, and then she tells him that she has a meadow that needs mowing; rather than that she mentions the meadow first.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Mower
From: Reinhard
Date: 14 May 24 - 01:00 AM

See the older thread Tune Req: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France.
    I'm trying to figure out a clever way to separate The Mower and Ile (Isle) de France, which seem to be two completely unrelated songs. I've got it done. Is it OK? -Joe-

Note Reinhard's work: https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/themower.html


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: The Mower
From: RTim
Date: 13 May 24 - 04:25 PM

Sabine Baring Gould collected The Mower....and than completely re-wrote it because of it's content...Frankly I don't know what the original is anymore...but I prefer to sing the first version below...

The Mower – Baring-Gould.

A mower in the month of June
With tarring scythe am I.
To left, to right, I sweep and smite,
Before the dew is dry.
The daisy and the buttercup
Before me bow the head,
What bloom-ed fair in summer air,
Lies withered, cold, and dead.

There’s one doth mow, full well I know,
That passeth through the land,
With scythe more keen, he mows the green,
And letteth little stand.
Me unforgot, he sought my plot
Where bloom-ed babies three,
And pretty wife, there with his knife
He shore them all from me.

At fall of e’en, when skies are green,
Above the sun’s decline,
I there behold blow flowers of gold,
And think those flowers are mine.
On scythe I stoop, in humble hope,
That mower’ll ease my pain.
In Eden sweet, I then shall greet
My pretty flowers again.

----------------------------------------------------
A.L. Lloyd sings The Mower
As I went out one morning on the fourteenth of July
I met a maid and I asked her age and she gave me this reply:
“I have a little meadow, I've kept for you in store
And it's only due, I should tell you true, it never was mowed before.”
She said: “Me handsome young man, if a mower that you be,
I give you good employment, so come along with me.”
Well it was me good employment to wander up and down
With me tearing scythe all to contrive to mow her meadow down.
Now me courage being undaunted, I stepped out on the ground,
And with me tearing scythe I then did strive to mow her meadow down.
I mowed from nine till dinnertime, it was far beyond my skill,
I was obliged to yield and to quit the field and the grass was growing still.
Now the mower she kissed and did pretest, this fair maid bein' so young.
Her little eyes they glittered like to the rising sun.
She said: “I'll strive to sharpen your scythe, so set it in me hand,
And then perhaps you will return again to mow me meadow land.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------
The Kings of Calicutt sing The Buxom Lass
A labouring lad walk'd out one day and he met with a buxom lass,
Belonging to a dairyman, she had a field of grass,
It grew between two mountains at the foot of a running spring,
She hir'd him out to cut it down while the birds did sweetly sing.
He said, “My handsome fair maid, what wages will you give?
For mowing is hard labour unless your scythe be good.”
She says, “If you should please me well, as I am a lady clear,
I will give a crown an acre and plenty of strong beer.”
He said, “You handsome fair maid, I like your wages well,
And if that I should mow your grass you'll say it done well,
For my scythe is in good order and lately has been ground,
And so, bonny lass, I'll mow your grass till it's down unto the ground.”
With courage like a lion he entered in the field,
But before he had mowed one swathe of grass he was obliged to yield,
Before he had mowed one swathe of grass his scythe was bent and broke.
She said, “My handsome fair man, you're tired of your work.”
She said, “My handsome fair man, you're tired of your work,
Oh, mowing is hard labour and weakening to the back,
yes, mowing is hard labour and it you must forsake,
But around my little meadow, you may use your fork and rake.”
He said, “My handsome fair maid, pray do not on me frown,
For if I stayed the summer long I could not cut it down,
For it is such a pleasant place and grows such crops of grass,
For it is well-watered by the spring that makes it grow so fast.”


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Origins: The Mower
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 May 24 - 04:09 PM

Need background information and alternate versions on this.


THE MOWER (DT Lyrics)

As I went out one morning on the fourteenth of July
I met a maid and I asked her age and she gave me this reply:
"I have a little meadow, I've kept for you in store
And it's only due, I should tell you true, it never was mowed before"

She said: "Me handsome young man, if a mower that you be
I give you good employment, so come along with me"
Well it was me good employment to wander up and down
With me tearing scythe all to contrive to mow her meadow down.

Now me courage being undaunted, I stepped out on the ground
And with me tearing scythe I then did strive to mow her meadow down
I mowed from nine till dinnertime, it was far beyond my skill
I was obliged to yield and to quit the field and the grass was growing still.

Now the mower she kissed and did pretest, this fair maid bein' so young
Her little eyes they glittered like to the rising sun
She said: "I'll strive to sharpen your scythe, so set it in me hand
And then perhaps you will return again to mow me meadow land."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
recorded in 1966 by A.L.Lloyd, released on Topic 12T135 and on
"Voices. English Traditional Songs" (1992)

"...A traditional erotic song. In the tradition euphemisms for
copulation and anatomy abound - some less subtle than others. There
is a delicacy and moral quality to this song and the young man treats
the girl with sympathy, good humour and resolution." - Paul Adams

@bawdy @sex @farm
filename[ THEMOWER
MJ


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France^^
From: GUEST,Gayle Wade
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 08:46 AM

Lyrics for this song from The English Country Song Book. It finishes oddly with a random half verse near the end, so something is missing.

The Mower

As I walked out one evening on the fourteenth of July
I met a maid, she asked my trade I gave her this reply:
“Oh for my occupation I ramble up and down
With my taring scythe in order to mow the meadows down.”

She says, “My handsome young man, if a mower that you be,
Come put your scythe in order and go along with me
For I have a little meadow long time been kept in store,
And on the dew, I can tell you true, it never was cut before.”

He says, “My canty dairymaid, what wages will you give?
For mowing is hard labour unless the scythe be good.”
“I'll give you a crown an acre, I solemnly declare,
I'll give you a crown an acre and plenty of strong beer.”

He says, “My canty dairymaid, I like your wages well,
For my scythe it's in good order and we will have a spell;
For on your lovely countenance I never saw a frown.
My bonny lass I'll cut your grass that ne'er was trampled down.”

Like a lion, he being undaunted, he entered in her field,
He said he'd mow her meadow down before that he would yield;
He wrought from six till breakfast time till it went beyond his skill,
He was forced to yield and quit the field for the grass was standing still.

He says, “My canty dairymaid, oh do not on me frown,
For although I mow all summer I cannot mow it down.”
She’s put her hand in her pocket and paid him down a crown:
“Oh, when you come this way again, enquire for Betsy Brown.

“All in my little meadow there is neither hill nor rock,
And when you come this way again the cradle you may rock.”

Come all you pretty fair maids, wherever you may be,
And when you meet a plough boy, oh treat him kind and free.
He ploughs the furrows deeply and rambles up and down,
With his taring scythe in order to mow the meadows down.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Origins: The Mower
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Jul 21 - 03:49 PM

Gayle Wade sings an interesting version. Do we have an identification of the melody?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France^^
From: pavane
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 01:37 AM

Sorry, it CONFIRMS what he said! I misread it first time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France^^
From: pavane
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 01:37 AM

Thanks Malcolm. This seems to contradict what Nic said. Did you listen to the clip?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France^^
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 12:33 AM

Nic got the song from Sharp's 'English County Songs'. The tune and main text was noted by W Percy Merrick from Henry Hills at Shepperton in March 1900, and was first printed in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society, I (3) 1901, 123. Mr Hills (who had probably learned the song in his youth in Sussex) had 5 verses, some a bit muddled, so additional material was interpolated from 'another traditional Sussex version'; the source wasn't identified, and I don't know of any other versions found in Sussex in those days, nor does Roud list any (Henry Burstow knew it, of course, but I don't think his set was ever noted by any of the collectors who visited him). Sharp got several versions in Somerset, and most of the major collectors of the day came across it.

Nic changed the words hardly at all, and the tune very little.

The Australian text (the singer remembered only the tune and one verse) is mostly the expanded form of Mr Hills' version as published by Sharp. Not from Nic, but from the same printed source.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Origins: The Mower
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 09:03 PM

The earliest version of "The Mower" in the Bodleian Collection, as posted by Jim Dixon (with slight variations from sheet to sheet) is dated c. 1813-1838 (Catnach) and c. 1819-1844 (Pitts).

The DT copy of A. L. Lloyd has a mistake in the last verse, first line, which should read
'Oh(Now), the more she kissed and did protest, this fair maid...', not-
'Now the mower she kissed and did pretest,...'.
Otherwise only very slight differences in Lloyd from the DT.

A. L. Lloyd, Folk Song in England, 1967, pp. 188-189, with music.

The meaning of taring (tarring) scythe is obvious, but I couldn't find the adj. in the OED or Grose, except with reference to tarring (and feathering), or to tares.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE MOWER (from Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 09:46 PM

From the Bodleian Library allegro Catalogue of Ballads,
Harding B 11(1929):

THE MOWER.

It was one summer's morning on the fourteenth day of May*,
I met a fair maid, she ask'd my trade, I made her this reply:
"For by my occupation I ramble up and down,
With my taring** scythe in order to mow the meadows down."

She said, "My handsome young man, if a mower that you be,
I'll find you some new employment if you will go with me,
For I've a little meadow long kept for you in store.
It was on the dew, I tell you true, it ne'er was cut before."

He said, "My pretty fair maid, if it is as you say,
I'll do my best endeavours in cutting of your hay,
For in your lovely countenance I never saw a frown,
So, my lovely lass, I'll cut your grass, that's ne'er been trampled down."

With courage bold undaunted, she took him to the ground,
With his taring scythe in hand to mow the meadow down.
He mowed from nine till breakfast time, so far beyond his skill,
He was forced to yield and quit the field, for the grass was growing still.

She says, "My handsome young man, you did promise me and say
You'd do your best endeavours in cutting of the hay,
For in my little meadow, you'll ne'er find hills nor rocks,
So I pray, young man, don't leave me, till you see my hay in cocks."

He said, "My pretty fair maid, I can no longer stay,
But I'll go to Newry, in cutting of the hay,
But if I find the grass is cut in the country where I go,
It's then perhaps I may return, your meadow for to mow."

Now her hay being in order, and harvest being all o'er,
This young man's gone and left her sad case for to deplore,
But where he's gone I do not know, so far beyond my skill,
I was forced to yield and quit the field, for grass is growing still.

[*Harding B 25(1275) has "14th of July"—which is a better rhyme.]
[**Some other broadsides have "tarring" or "tearing"]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France
From: SueH
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 08:17 AM

Thanks Malcolm - and sorry for the delay in replying, again! My free time's rather limited & so I go for weeks without having a chance to look at the forum. I started working on a new PC in May & have only just managed to get back in as a member, there seemed to be some problem with my cookie, so I couldn't even access the threads I had on trace (which included this one)! And this last month it's been festivals etc.
I do have the software, thank you, & I'm very grateful for the midi.

Regards SueH


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 09:04 AM

Martin's website devoted to Baring Gould is here:  Sabine Baring-Gould and the folk songs of South-West England

Sue: if you don't have software which can extract notation from the midi above, let me know your current email and I'll send you the staff.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France
From: Martin Graebe
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 02:16 AM

Malcolm has covered off the Mower nicely so I won't add more on that. Baring-Gould did, though, collect two versions of 'The Isle of France' and it is another song that fascinates me because of the differences between the versions. For example, in one version the convict lives - in the other he dies and the coastguard sings his praises. I plan to do some work on this one when I've finished some of the other zillions of things I've promised people.

Martin Graebe


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France
From: GUEST,SueH
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 05:12 AM

Well Malcolm, wonderful, & thank you very much.
I don't suppose you've got the dots? I could ask Martin but I don't think he's played it for so long, he'd have to sit down & play it through note by note. I suppose I could just work it out from the tape, come to that....
SueH


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE MOWER^^
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 03:00 PM

Since this thread has been summoned back from the Great Beyond, I may as well answer part of the original question:

THE MOWER

(Tune traditional, noted by Sabine Baring Gould from James Parsons; words by Baring Gould)

A mower in the month of June
With tarring scythe am I.
To left, to right, I sweep and smite,
Before the dew is dry.
The daisy and the buttercup
Before me bow the head,
What blooméd fair in summer air,
Lies withered, cold, and dead.

There's one doth mow, full well I know,
That passeth through the land,
With scythe more keen, he mows the green,
And letteth little stand.
Me unforgot, he sought my plot
Where blooméd babies three,
And pretty wife, there with his knife
He shore them all from me.

At fall of e'en, when skies are green,
Above the sun's decline,
I there behold blow flowers of gold,
And think those flowers are mine.
On scythe I stoop, in humble hope,
That mower'll ease my pain.
In Eden sweet, I then shall greet
My pretty flowers again.

From A Garland of Country Song, S. Baring Gould and H. Fleetwood Sheppard, 1895 (reprinted Llanerch Publishers, 1998). Baring Gould commented:
"The Mower is a song that exists in several versions, as The Buxom Lass by Jackson, of Birmingham, as The Little Farm by Paul, of St. Andrew's St., London, as The Weary Ploughman, as The Mower by Catnach and Hodges. They vary much, but all are objectionable, and I have therefore entirely re-written the song. The melody is without much character, yet this song is a very favourite one throughout England, and we have included the air for that reason, and that alone."

Links are to copies of the broadsides cited, at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads; there are plenty of others from other printers there, too.

In fairness to Baring Gould, no respectable publisher at that time would have printed the original text, though the Broadside printers were bound by no such considerations; though to today's eyes it seems innocent enough, the sexual metaphor was meat too strong for the drawing-room. Baring Gould retained the original text in his manuscripts, and Martin Graebe quotes it in his introduction to the reprint cited above. As for the tune, judge for yourselves; a midi goes to The Mudcat Midi Pages; as a temporary measure it can be heard via the South Riding Folk Network site:

The Mower (1895)

THE MOWER

(As originally noted by Sabine Baring Gould from James Parsons)

As I walked out one morning fair, the fourteenth of July
I met a maid, she asked my trade, I made her this reply
It is my occupation, love to ramble up and down
And with my scythe in order, love, to mow the meadow down

She said, my pretty young man, a mower if you be
I'll find you some employment if you'll go along with me
My mother hath a meadow, that's (kept) for you in store
It's on the dew, I tell you true 'twas never mowed before

All in my little meadow, you'll find nor hills nor rocks
I pray you do not leave me 'till my hay is all in pokes
O mower man you promised me, you promised me that day
You would not bear your scythe elsewhere 'till you had cut my hay

I answered fairest maiden I can no longer bide
For I must go across the hills far, far away and wide
But if the grass be all cut down in the country where I go
Then I'll return to you again, your meadow for to mow

Now summer being overpast, and harvest being o'er
The mower gone, I'm left alone my folly to deplore
And where he's gone, I cannot tell, 'tis far beyond the hill
And I must yield and quit the field where the grass is growing still

Malcolm^^


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Origins: The Mower
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 10:40 AM

A kind thought, Tom, but Bert Lloyd's set is the one in the DT that Susan referred to long ago when this thread was young.  Here is an updated link to it:  THE MOWER  The tune is not in the DT yet, but a midi made from notation in Lloyd's Folksong in England can be heard via  The Mudcat Midi Pages:

The Mower

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Origins: The Mower
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 09:27 AM

G'day all,

I just came across this refreshed thread. This is a song in which I am interested, because there is a lost Australian version. John Manifold collected the first verse only in 1962 from Mrs Webb of Toowong, Queensland. Ron Edwards, who worked with Manifold from the early 1950s, collected a variant first verse a couple of years later (presumably, also in Queensland). Edwards subsequently found a broadside version in the National Library, Dublin (1987).

None of this finds the version I want - the one faintly recollected by Mrs webb, from her father, describing a convict released from servitude and sailing home - but being wrecked on the Victorian coast and ending up on the Ballarat(southern Australian) goldfields at the time of the Eureka Rebellion, 1854. As Mrs Webb could not remember any of the relevant words, Manifold used a British version (from Sussex?) in the Penguin Australian Song Book.

I greatly regret that this version has never surfaced. I have even written my own version of it (but don't perform it these days ... I might be muddying the waters!).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE MOWER^^^
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 09:24 AM

Curmudgeon here.
I've been singing THE MOWER now for many years. I first got it from The Best of A. L. Lloyd, Prestige. It is also in Lloyd's book, Folksong in England. But since these are both out of print...

As I was out a-walking on the fourteenth of July,
I met a maid and I asked her age and she gave me this reply:
"I have a little meadow which I have held in store,
And it's only due I should tell you true, it never was mowed before."

She said, "Me charmin' young man, if a mower that you be,
I'll give you good employment, so come along with me."
It was me good employment. As I wandered up and down,
With me tarrin' scythe I did contrive to mow her meadow down.

Now me courage being undaunted as I stepped out on the ground,
With me tarrin' scythe I then did strive to mow her meadow down.
I mowed from nine to dinner-time. It was far beyond me skill.
I was obliged to yield and to quit the field and her grass was growin' still.

The more she kissed and did protest, this fair maid being so young,
I thought her two bright sparklin' eyes were like the risin' sun.
She says, "Young man, I'll sharpen your scythe. Come place it in me hand,
And perhaps you'll consent to come again and mow me meadowland."

Good singing to all - Tom^^^


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France
From: SueH
Date: 21 Jul 99 - 05:04 PM

Wow Joe, thanks a million. I didn't know about Nic Jones singing it, & in fact I missed PKD's response to my original thread somehow. I don't suppose the tune is there as well, by any chance?

Alison suggested I refresh this thread after I'd posted to a thread which mentioned the Cock of the North, another of Martyn's songs. So, apologising for making my own thread creep, I'll just note here that I offered to get the tune for Cock of the North from Martyn, but my husband has just reminded me that he learns songs by ear & the only way to get a tune from him, particulrly an old one, is to get him to sing it through once to remind himself, then again very slowly so you can write down chords & notes. I may have the tape with it on somewhere though, so if anyone wants it I will sort out the tune.

Sue


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France
From: SueH
Date: 21 Jul 99 - 12:38 PM

Refresh

Ah, Alison, if you see this - I thought you knew EVERY SINGLE TUNE! All my illusions are shattered.....

Sue


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France
From: sue@questor-cp.demon.co.uk
Date: 13 Oct 98 - 04:10 PM

I don't think this is the same song. The lyrics to 'The Mower' begins...'A mower in the month of June...' & goes on to describe the fact that the mower in the song has lost his wife & children, & God is taking them in the same way as he scythes the grass. The Ile de France describes the transportation of a prisoner whose convict ship is sunk; he is recued & given a posthumous pardon because he is thought to have been drowned.

Sue


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Mower
From: Susan of DT
Date: 12 Oct 98 - 02:32 PM

We have a song called "THE MOWER" in the database. Is this the one you want?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France
From: sue@questor-cp.demon.co.uk
Date: 12 Oct 98 - 03:45 AM

Has anyone heard of either of these two tunes. Again, I have the lyrics. Both have been sung by Martyn Wyndham-Read, The Mower is supposed to be an old English folk song, the Ile de France is about a convict ship. I can't find either of them anywhere.

Many thanks

Sue


Ile (Isle) de France


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 19 June 4:39 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 2022 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.