The song collector Cecil Sharp said of this song, “I find that almost every singer knows it; the bad singers often know but little else.” It’s a broadside ballad published by Henry Such of the Borough, London. The song may have originated in Somerset, but this is uncertain. Here’s a melancholy version by Kate Rusby.
Alternate titles: The Ploughboy; We’re All Jolly Fellows That Follow the Plough
The Jolly Plough Boys
‘Twas early one mornin’, at the break of the day
The cocks they were crowing and the farmer did say,
Rise up my jollw fellows, arise with good will,
Your horses want something their bellies to fill.
When four o’clock came me boys, it’s up we did rise,
And off to the stable we merrily flies
With a rubbin’ and a-scrubbin’ our horses we’ll go,
For we’re all jolly fellows what follers the plough
This traditional broadside ballad is based on an historical event. Pat Broaders performs with fiddler Liz Knowles as part of Celtic Legends on Tour. They also form 2/3rds of the band Open the Door for Three along with piper Kieran O’Hare.
From the all-knowing Wikipedia:
A double murder took place at Christ Church, Todmorden, Lancashire on March 2, 1868. The victims’ graves lie in the churchyard. Miles Weatherhill, a 23-year-old weaver from the town, was forbidden from seeing his housemaid sweetheart, Sarah Bell, by the Reverend Anthony John Plow. Armed with four pistols and an axe, Weatherhill took revenge first on the vicar and then on Jane Smith, another maid who had informed Plow of the secret meetings. Miss Smith died at the scene, while the vicar survived another week before succumbing to his injuries. Weatherhill also seriously injured the vicar’s wife. On 4 April 1868 Weatherhill became the last person to be publicly hanged in Manchester, at the New Bailey prison. Local legend has it that the face of a young woman is sometimes seen in the window of the vicarage, now in private ownership.
Miles Weatherhill was a brisk young weaver
And at Todmorton he did dwell
He fell in love with a handsome maiden
The parson’s servant Sarah Bell
It was at Todmorton where these true lovers
At the parson’s house their love did tell
And none in the world will be more constant
Than Miles Weatherhill and Sarah Bell.
Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Not to be confused with Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore, or around five other broadside ballads of the same name, but this song does once again tell the plight of Ireland and the Irish. It’s sung hear in a powerful version by the amazing, and frequently posted, Paul Brady from the series Come West Along the Road .
The Shamrock Shore
You brave young sons of Erin’s Isle
I hope you will attend awhile
‘Tis the wrongs of dear old Ireland I am going to relate
‘Twas black and cursed was the day
When our parliament was taken away
And all of our griefs and sufferings commences from that day
For our hardy sons and daughters fair
To other countries must repair
And leave their native land behind in sorrow to deplore
Fo seek employment they must roam
Far, far away from the native home
From that sore, oppressed island that they call the shamrock shore
Now Ireland is with plenty blessed
But the people, we are sore oppressed
All by those cursed tyrants we are forced for to obey
Some haughty landlords for to please
Our houses and our lands they’ll seize
To put fifty farms into one and take us all away
Regardless of the widow’s sighs
The mother’s tears and orphan’s cries
In thousands we were driven from home which grieves my heart full sore
We were forced by famine and disease
To emigrate across the seas
From that sore, opressed island that they called the shamrock shore