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Prithee lead your jocund voices,
For to listen we're agreed;
Come sing of songs the choicest,
Of the life the plough-boys lead.
There are none that live so merry
As the ploughboy does in Spring
When he hears the sweet birds whistle
And the nightingales to sing.

With my Hump-a-long! Jump-a-long!
Here drives my lad along!
Pretty, Sparkle, Berry
Goodluck, Speedwell, Cherry!
We are the lads that can follow the plough.
O we are the lads that can follow the plough.

For it's, O my little ploughboy
Come awaken in the morn,
When the cock upon the dunghill
Is a-blowing of his horn.
Soon the sun above Brown Willy,
With his golden face will show;
Therefore hasten to the linney
Yoke the oxen to the plough.
With my Hump-a-long! &c.

In the heat of the daytime
It's but little we can do.
We will lie beside our oxen
For an hour, or for a two.
On the banks of sweet violets,
I'll take my noontide rest,
And it's I can kiss a pretty girl
As hearty as the best.
With my Hump-a-long! &c.

When the sun at eve is setting
And the shadows fill the vale,
Then our throttles we'll be wetting,
With the farmer's humming ale.
And the oxen home returning
We will send into the stall.
Where the logs and turf are burning,
We'll be merry ploughboys all.
With my Hump-a-long! &c.

O the farmer must have seed, sir's
Or I swear he cannot sow.
And the miller with his mill wheel
Is an idle man also.
And the huntsman gives up hunting,
And the trades'man stands aside,
And the poor man bread is wanting,
So 'tis we for all provide.
With my Hump-a-long! &c

abc | midi | pdf
Source: Songs of the West by S. Baring-Gould.

This song was known throughout Devon and Cornwall at the beginning of the 19th century. It went out of use with the oxen at the plough. We searched for the words for three years but could only find traces, until we heard that there was an old man from Liskeard who could sing the song through. Mr Shepherd and I hastened there only to find the old man speechless and his death imminent. One day I found an old man named Adam Landry cutting ferns in the hedges at Trebarth in Cornwall, he knew the song, and I sat and learned it from him, singing it over and over until I knew it by heart. I drove home eighteen miles and sat at the piano and fixed it. We also found a labourer Joseph Dyer at Mawgan-in-Pyder who could sing the song through.

Mr Sharpe also took down the song in North Devon from a farmer called Mr Lake of Worlington, who remembered the use of oxen in ploughing.

Roud: 686 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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