Come all you jolly fellows and listen to my song,
It is a little ditty and it won't detain you long.
It's of a brisk young damsel who lived down in Kent,
And she rose up one morning and she a-nutting went.
Then a-nutting we will go, a-nutting we will go,
With a blue cockade all in our hats we'll cut a gallant show.
Now it's of a brisk young ploughboy a-ploughing of his land
He spoke unto his horses and gently bid them stand.
Then he sat down upon his plough and he began to sing,
And he sang so melodiously it made the valleys ring.
It's of this brisk young damsel a-nutting in the wood,
He sung so melodiously it charm'd her as she stood;
She had no longer any power in that lonely wood to stay,
And what few nuts she had, poor girl, she threw them all away.
Then she came to young Johnny as he sat on his plough,
And said, "Young man, I really feel I cannot tell you how."
So he took her to some shady grove and gently laid her down,
She said, "Young man, I think I see the world go round and round."
Then Johnny went back to his plough to finish of his song,
He said, "My pretty damsel, your mama will think it wrong."
But as they walk'd across the fields she on his arm did lean,
She said "Young man, I'd like to see the world go round again."
Now all you brisk young maidens, attend unto my rhyme,
If you should a-nutting go, I pray get home in time;
For if you should stay too late and hear the ploughboys sing,
Perhaps a young ploughboy you may get to nurse up in the Spring.
abc | midi | pdf
Source: Purslow, F, (1972), The Constant Lovers, EDFS, London
Frank Purslow's notes are:
Hammond DT. 465. John Northover, Uploaders, Dorset. May 1906
Singer had only two verses, so text has been completed from standard broadside versions. Once a widely-known song, but now heard mainly in the folk song clubs where its popularity presumably stems from from a traditional Suffolk version included on a recent gramophone record. During the 19th century the tune was used with a variety of texts, some describing various pastimes, of which the best known seems to be A-hunting we will go, with its chorus of "We'll catch a little fox and put him in a box." Amongst the broadside collections are several songs of a political nature - probably electioneering songs - which are obviously meant to to be sung to this tune. However, perhaps the best known association is with With Henry Hunt We'll Go sung around the time of the "Peterloo" episode in 1819.
I presume the 'recent gramophone record' referred to is "Morris On!" (1972, Hannibal Records HNCD 4406)
This is a popular song, persisting in tradition to the present day. Though found mainly in England, there are several Scottish examples in the Greig-Duncan collection, and it has turned up in the USA. A set recorded by Sidney Robertson Cowell in Central Valley, California on December 26, 1938 can be heard at The WPA California Folk Music Project:
A-nutting we will go. Warde Ford, unaccompanied vocals.
There are a good few broadside editions at Ã?Â Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:
The nut girl
To the tune of The nut girl:
Opening of new Smithfield market
Roud: 509 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six