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Penguin: The Ploughman


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The Ploughman (from The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs)

Alan of Australia 01 Jul 00 - 10:31 PM
Joe Offer 19 Jan 05 - 05:04 AM
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Subject: Penguin: The Ploughman ^^
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 01 Jul 00 - 10:31 PM

From the Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs, Ed Pellow's rendition of the tune of The Ploughman can be found here.

Sung by Henry Burstow, Horsham, Sussex (R.V.W. 1904

Previous song: Oxford City.
Next song: Ratcliffe Highway.

Penguin Index provided by Joe Offer

Alan ^^

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Subject: RE: Penguin: The Ploughman
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 05:04 AM

Here are the notes from Penguin:
    The Ploughman (FSJ II 190)
    This song started out, as some songs will, with intent to end otherwise. Mr Burstow's first verse was originally:
      It's of a pretty wench that came running 'long a trench,
      And sweetheart she could not get one,
      'When there's many a dirty sow a sweetheart has got now,
      And I, a pretty wench, Can't get one, get one, get one,
      And I, a pretty wench, can't get one.'
    Here we are on familiar ground, for the beginning is that of the well-known "Condescending Lass," often printed on broadsides, and not infrequently met with in the mouths of country singers to this day. The "Condescending Lass" be longs to the sizeable family of songs on the theme of 'I wouldn't marry a. .'
    In it the girl reviews men of various trades, and rejects them all until she finds one whom she will deign to consider. But the present version loses sight of this theme, and from verse two on wards forgets all about the pernicketty girl, settling down to a eulogy of the ploughman's trade, though here and there the words still recall those of "The Condescending Lass." For the sake of coherence we have abandoned Mr Burstow's first verse and given it another title (he called it: "Pretty Wench"). A Wiltshire version of "The Condescending Lass" is given in WUP 122.

Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Ploughman, The

DESCRIPTION: Singer, a ploughman, praises his fellows, his profession and his recreations.
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: work drink nonballad farming
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, p. 84, "The Ploughman" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #2538
cf. "The Condescending Lass"
Pretty Wench
Notes: This is a muddled song. As collected in 1904, the singer began with a verse from "The Condescending Lass" (a song in which the lass in question rejects the idea of marrying men of various professions). He veered off immediately, however, into a praiseful description of ploughmen, and the lass is not heard from again. [Vaughan Williams and Lloyd] excised the seemingly-unconnected first verse and assigned the present title (the singer had called it "Pretty Wench"). -PJS
To tell this from other songs in praise of farmhands, consider this first stanza:
"A ploughman dresses fine, he drinks strong beer ale and wine
And the best of tobacco he do smoke;
Pretty maids don't think amiss a ploughman for to kiss,
For his breath smells as sweet as a rose, a rose, a rose
For his breath smells as sweet as a rose." - RBW
File: VWL084

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

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