The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #133050   Message #3017739
Posted By: Jim Dixon
28-Oct-10 - 11:10 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: The Ploughman's Song
Twaddle or not, we might as well have the whole thing. It does get a bit better, I think, than the excerpt already posted. Anyway, how can I resist a book edited by James Henry Dixon?

From Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England, Taken Down from Oral Recitation, and Transcribed from Private Manuscripts, Rare Broadsides, and Scarce Publications collected, and edited by James Henry Dixon [Volume 17 in the series "Early English Poetry, Ballads, and Popular Literature of the Middle Ages"] (London: The Percy Society, 1846), page 170:


The common editions of this popular song say, "From an Old Ballad." The editor has not been able to meet with the original.

A country life is sweet!
In moderate cold and heat,
    To walk in the air,
    How pleasant and fair!
In every field of wheat,
    The fairest of flowers
    Adorning the bowers,
And every meadow now;
    To that, I say,
    No courtier may
    Compare with they
    Who clothe in grey,
And follow the useful plow.

They rise with the morning lark,
And labour till almost dark;
    Then folding their sheep,
    They hasten to sleep;
While every pleasant park,
    Next morning is ringing,
    With birds that are singing,
On each green, tender bough.
    With what content,
    And merriment,
    Their days are spent,
    Whose minds are bent
To follow the useful plow.

The gallant that dresses fine,
And drinks his bottles of wine,
    Were he to be tried,
    His feathers of pride,
Which deck and adorn his back,
    Are taylors and mercers,
    And other men dressers,
For which they do dun them now.
    But Ralph and Will
    No compters fill
    For taylor's bill,
    Or garments still,
But follow the useful plow.

Their hundreds, without remorse,
Some spend to keep dogs and horse,
    Who never would give,
    As long as they live,
Not two-pence to help the poor:
    Their wives are neglected,
    And harlots respected;
This grieves the nation now;
    But 'tis not so,
    With us that go
    Where pleasures flow,
    To reap and mow,
And follow the useful plow.