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Origin: The Ploughboy and the Cockney

In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Ploughboy and the Cockney (Noted by H.E.D. Hammond from Mr. John Greening at Cuckold's Corner, Dorset, in May 1906. Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol.III issue 11, 1907)


Rank 04 Apr 02 - 05:25 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Apr 02 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,Pavane 05 Apr 02 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,Pavane 05 Apr 02 - 06:03 AM
Rank 05 Apr 02 - 06:39 PM
Jim Dixon 04 Jan 11 - 01:23 AM
GUEST,Grishka 04 Jan 11 - 06:30 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Jan 11 - 05:25 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE PLOUGHBOY AND THE COCKNEY
From: Rank
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 05:25 PM

The following song is on Summer Solstice by Tim Hart and Maddy Prior: Crest 12 1971. Does anyone have any information regarding the origins of the song?


THE PLOUGHBOY AND THE COCKNEY

It's of a London cockney, I now will relate.
He went into the country, to find himself a mate.
He went into the country, to find himself a mate.

He rode and he rode until he come to some public town,
And there he unlighted to drink at the Crown,
And there he unlighted to drink at the Crown.

A beautiful damsel he there did espy,
Which caused him to tarry and there for to buy,
Which caused him to tarry and there for to buy.

He said, "My fair damsel, if you will be mine,
Then all the gold and silver I have shall be thine,
Then all the gold and silver I have shall be thine."

But a ploughboy was standing by and hearing him say so.
He said, "My London cockney, I know what I know."
He said, "My London cockney, I know what I know.

"We will take up our arrows and go fight in the field.
We'll fight a good battle and gain her goodwill.
We'll fight a good battle and gain her goodwill."

And when he said this, he gave him such a blow.
"Oh now, me London cockney, you know what I know.
Oh now, me London cockney, you know what I know.

"Oh it never shall be said, all on the plough-bench,
That a ploughboy was not willing to fight for his wench.
That a ploughboy was not willing to fight for his wench."

"Oh, carry me to London and there let me die,
Don't let me die here, in a strange country.
Don't let me die here, in a strange country."


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE PLOUGHBOY AND THE COCKNEY
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 08:14 PM

I suspect that Hart and Prior got this one from the Journal of the Folk Song Society; the set that appeared in volume III (issue 11, 1907), noted by H.E.D. Hammond from Mr. John Greening at Cuckold's Corner, Dorset, in May 1906, certainly appears to be their source; though some changes have been made to the text. Incidentally, there for to buy above should be there for to bide. Here is Mr. Greening's set:


THE PLOUGHBOY AND THE COCKNEY

(Noted by H.E.D. Hammond from Mr. John Greening at Cuckold's Corner, Dorset, in May 1906. Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol. III issue 11, 1907).

It's of a London cockney, as I shall now relate,
He went into the country to find himself a mate,
He went into the country to find himself a mate.

Oh! there he rode until he came to some public town,
Oh! then he unlighted and he drank at the Crown.
Oh! then he unlighted and he drank at the Crown.

A beauty fair damsel appeared all in his eyes,
Which made him to tarry and there for to bide.
Which made him to tarry and there for to bide.

He said, "My fair damsel, if you will be mine,
Then all my gold and silver I have, shall be thine.
Then all my gold and silver I have, shall be thine."

A ploughboy was standing by and, hearing him say so,
Then up-spoke the ploughboy, "I know what I know."
Then up-spoke the ploughboy, "I know what I know.

We will take up our arrows, and go to fight in field,
We'll fight a good battle and gain her goodwill.
We'll fight a good battle and gain her goodwill."

After that the ploughboy he gave him such a blow,
"Now you London cockney, you know what I know.
Now you London cockney, you know what I know.

Oh! it never shall be said, Oh! it's all on a plough-bench,
That a ploughboy was not willing to fight for his wench.
That a ploughboy was not willing to fight for his wench."

"Oh! carry me to London, and there let me die.
Nor let me die here in a strange countery.
Nor let me die here in a strange countery."

Roud Folk Song Index number 1688.

I don't recall how close to Mr. Greening's tune the Hart/Prior recording was. A midi made from notation in the FSJ will go in due course to the Mudcat Midi Pages; for now it can be heard via the South Riding Folk Network site:

The Ploughboy and the Cockney (midi)

Another version, The Bold Cockney, appeared in Christie's Traditional Ballad Airs (vol.2, 1881); the town in that case was Huntingdon. Broadside examples name Beverley. There are two at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads; here is one of them [Harding B 11(633)]:

The cockney and plough boy  Printed by Ford and Cook, George Street, Sheffield (no date).


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Subject: RE: The ploughboy and the cockney info
From: GUEST,Pavane
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 05:55 AM

I think I have seen similar songs in the Bodleian Ballad library, but don't have any links handy.


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Subject: RE: The ploughboy and the cockney info
From: GUEST,Pavane
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 06:03 AM

Yes I was right, there are two copies there, both much the same. See example here

While searching, I also came across this VERY early forerunner of the song often know as 'Basket of eggs' or 'Quare Bungle Rye'

The country girl's policy: or, The Cockney outwitted


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Subject: RE: The ploughboy and the cockney info
From: Rank
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 06:39 PM

Thanks to both of you. Very useful and informative.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE COCKNEY AND PLOUGH BOY (from Bodleian
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 01:23 AM

From the Bodleian broadside collection, Harding B 11(632):


THE COCKNEY AND PLOUGH BOY.

I'll tell you a story of a Londoner of late,
Who roved in the country to seek for his mate.
He put in his pocket three hands full of gold,
With his sword by his side to make him look bold.

He rode till he came to fair Beverley town,
Where there he alighted and put up at the Crown.
A beautiful damsel appeared to his eye,
Which caused him to stay all night for to lie.

He says, my dearest jewel, if thou will be mine,
All the gold and the silver I have shall be thine.
O no, kind sir, now your passion do assuage,
For to toy with the plough boy I'm deeply engaged.

The plough boy standing by and hearing her say so,
O now, says the plough boy, I know what I know,
For she is the girl which ought for to be mine,
But if thou can but gain her then she shall be thine.

Come, come, you saucy fellow, what makes you for to prate?
Stand from under my weapons or I'll break your pate.
You're some country bumpkin sprung from the plough tail,
That never handled a weapon but a whip or a flail.

Come, come, my brave fellow. Let's go to yonder field.
We will never give it up until one of us yield,
So it never shall be said upon any hard pinch,
That the plough boy's afraid for to fight for a wench.

They fought for half an hour before the company could say,
Which of these heroes had won the day,
Till at length the young plough boy gave cockney such a fall,
Saying now mister cockney, you shall pay for all.

Here's my gold and my bags. It's all that I have.
I'll freely give it to you my life for to save,
But do not let me in this strange country die,
But O carry me to London and there let me lie.

So the plough boy with his gold and his bags by his side,
He went to his fair maid & he made her his bride.
It never shall be said that upon a hard pinch,
That the plough boy's afraid to fight for a wench.


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Ploughboy and the Cockney
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 06:30 AM

If I had a vote I would never want to miss the rhyme
"Oh! carry me to London, and there let me die.
Nor let me die here in a strange countery."
which has a stronger parodistic/humorous tone to my ear.


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Ploughboy and the Cockney
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 05:25 PM

Thus far it can be traced back to a 17thc broadside in the Roxburghe Collection c1674-9 titled 'The Courageous Plow-Man' of 17 stanzas. The shortened 9 stanza version seems to have been penned in the 18thc. It appears in 'The London Cockney's Garland' as 'The London Cockney' towards the end of the 18thc. (British library, several copies). W Ford of Sheffield printed the 9st version c1810 and one of Pitts' hacks shortened it to 7 stanzas.

As my ancestors were ploughmen in the Beverley area for the last 10 centuries I'm claiming it as a family song!


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