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Oats and beans and barley grow,
Oats and beans and barley grow,
Do you or I or anyone know
How oats and beans and barley grow?

First the farmer sows his seed,
Then he stands and takes his ease,
Stamps his feet and claps his hand
And turns him round to view the land

Waiting for a partner,
Waiting for a partner,
Waiting for a partner,
So open the ring and let one in.

Now you're married you must obey,
You must be true to all you say;
You must be kind, you must be good,
And help your wife to chop the wood.
Chop it thin and carry it in,
And kiss your partner in the ring

abc | midi | pdf
Source: The Singing Game, Peter and Iona Opie, ISBN 0-19-284019-3

This music was collected from East Tisted, Hants in 1964. The chorus follows the standard tune but the verse has a rather different form from that commonly used by 'revival' players.

Discussed at some length by Peter and Iona Opie in "The Singing Game". The references at the end of the discussion are reproduced below

Britain: Lincolnshire, c.1870 (Notes (S Queries, 7th ser., xii, p. 493) | Much Wenlock, 1883 (Shropshire Folk-Lore, p. 508) | Raunds and Maxey, 1885 (Northamptonshire Notes & Queries, i, pp. 163-4) | Shipley, 1888 (Yorkshire Folk-Lore Journal, i, p. 3) Lincolnshire, 1893 (English County Songs, p. 87) Devonport, c. 1893 | Traditional Games, ii, 1898, 15 further recordings. Very common thereafter up to present day, especially among younger children.
Cf. Lodsworth, Sussex, c. 1870, song sung at harvest suppers, 'There sits the hand that ploughs up the land/Where the peas, beans, oats and the barley stand. Drink off your liquor, and then you will know Where the peas, beans, oats, and the barley grow!' (Journal of EFDSS, i, p. 67).
USA: New Hampshire, early part of nineteenth century, 'Thus my father sows his seed, Stands erect and takes his ease, Stamps his foot, and claps his hands, Whirls about, and thus he stands' (Games of American Children, 1883, pp. 80-4: 'Oats, Pease, Beans, and Barley Grows' is described as 'very familiar to all American children') | Washington DC, 1886, '0 sweet beans and barley grows' (Lippincott's Magazine, xxxvii, p. 247) | St Louis, 1895, 'Oats, peas, beans, and barley grows, As you and I and everyone knows' (JAFL, Ix, 1947, p. 16, with numerous references attesting to the game's popularity) Cincinnati, 1908, 'Rosy beans and morning glories' (JAFL, xl, p. 14), the game a generation earlier, apparently, being 'Where old sweet peas and barley grows' North Carolina Folklore, 1952, pp. 87-8, versions from 1920s.
Canada (English-speaking): Kingston, Ontario, 1940S (Fowke, 1969, p. 14).
Belgian Flanders: Vlaamsche Kinderspelen uit fVest-Brussel, Aime de Cort, 1929, pp. 109-10, 'Hoe zaait de boer zijn graan, Hoe zaait de boer zijn Koren graan, Van de ran plan plan, Van den boereman, Hoe zaait de boer zijn graan, Hoe zaait de boer zijn graan'. The leader shows how the farmer sows his grain, and, in response to further questions from the ring, shows how he gathers, binds, dries, malts, bakes, and eats his grain.
France: Les rondes, chansons a danser, Christophe Ballard, 1724, p. 99, as quote (E. Roland,}eux del'enfance, 1883,pp. 99-101) | ManuelComplet des jeux de societe, E. F. Celnart, 1827 (1846, pp. 10-11) | feux et exercises des jeunes filles, Mme de Chabreui, 1856, pp. 142-4 | Chantons
cement, E. Van de Velde, ('.1938, no. 50.
Canada (French-speaking): Saint-Constant, nr. Montreal, (-.1890, 'Avoine, avoine, avoine, Que Ie printemps ramene! Le laboureur fait comme ceci, Et puis se repose comme ceci, et comme : a'. Players stamped their feet, clapped their hands, and took a turn with their neighbour (JAFL, xxxiii, pp. 343-4).
Sweden: Svenska Fomsdnger, A. I. Arwidsson, iii, 1842, pp. 326-9, 'ViljenJ veta och viljenJ forsta, Hur bonderna bruka sin hafra sa?Jag hade en fader han sade sa har, Och sedan sa stalde han sig sa har. Han stampade med fot, han klappade med hand, Han gick omkring, sa glader var han' (Do you want to see and do you want to know, How the farmers sow their oats? I had a father, he sowed like this, And after he'd done, he stood like this. He stamped with his foot, He clapped with his hand. He walked around, so glad was he). Followed by the 'summonsing', 'See what I have in my hand ...' | Svenska folklekar, C. Tillhagen and N. Dencker, ii, 1950, pp. 358-9. Denmark: Bemeses Musik, S. and S. Hagen, 1879, p. 99, 'Ogville I nuvide, ogville I forstaa, hvorledes den Bondemand sin Havre monne saa?' etc (And will you now see, and will you know, How the farmer must sow his oats? He sowed, he sowed, And the green field'it grew. He clapped his hands; He wriggled his hips; He stamped with his feet; he turned himself around) | Danmarks Sanglege, S. Tvermose Thyregod, 1931, pp. 256-8.
Italy: Giuochi Popolari Veneziani, G. Bemoni, 1874, pp. 37-9, 'La bela vilana. La va in campagna, La impianta la fava, L'impianta cussi. La 1'impianta a poco a poco; 'N' altro poco riposa cussi' (The lovely peasant, She walks in the country, She plants the beans, She plants them ke this. She plants them little by little, Then rests a little like this). When the beans have been threshed, dried, shelled, and eaten, the game ends with a good male peasant, who walks in the country, plants the beans, stamps his foot, claps his hands, and hits himself | The Second Gilwell Camp Fire Book, 1962, pp. 60-1, 'Quando si planta la bella polenta, la bella polenta, si planta cos'i', and thereafter growing, flowering, cutting, gathering, grinding, and eating the maize pudding | Lotzorai, Sardinia, 1962, 'Ara la fava la bella villana, Quando 1'ara 1'ara cosi, E 1'ara a poco ; poco, E poi si mette le mani cos'i' (The lovely peasant she ploughs the beans, When she ploughs, ;he ploughs like this, And she ploughs little by little, And then she puts her hands like this). The lovely peasant then gathers, shells, cooks, and eats the beans in the same manner.

Roud: 1380 (Search Roud index at VWML)

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