Harvest Home Song (IV -- Your Hay Is Mow'd)
DESCRIPTION: "Our oats they are hoed and our barley's reaped, Our hay is mowed and our hovels heaped. Harvest home! Harvest home! We'll merrily roar out our harvest home!" "We cheated the parson; we'll cheat him again." ""We'll drink off our liquor while we can stand"
EARLIEST DATE: 1691 (Purcell's "King Arthur"; see NOTES)
KEYWORDS: harvest drink party
FOUND IN: Britain(England)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Dixon-Peasantry, Song #6, pp. 175-176,245-246, "Harvest-Home Song"; Song #7, pp. 176-177, "Harvest-Home" (2 texts)
Bell-Combined, pp. 376-378, "Harvest-Home Song," "Harvest Home" (2 texts, minimally related; either may go back to "Harvest Home Song (I)" but as copied appear distinct)
NOTES [219 words]: Josh Andre writes to us about this song,
"[W]hen I saw the words 'Harvest Home,' I was reminded of Henry Purcell's semi-opera (spoken play with interspersed opera-like vocal and instrumental music) King Arthur, which has a pastoral song which begins with the words 'Your hay it is mow'd.' As I looked at each of the index entries for 'Harvest Home Song,' I discovered that the description of 'Harvest Home Song (IV)' matches the lyrics of 'Your hay it is mow'd' very closely, with just a few word differences.
"King Arthur, which has the song being sung by a chorus of peasants led by the god Comus (as part of an Act V 'victory masque'), was first performed in 1691. The index entry gives an earliest date of 1846, which I assume is the date of the earliest known version of the text and/or melody of the piece as a folk song. [It was the date it was printed in Dixon. - RBW.] I wonder, did Purcell -- and John Dryden, the librettist -- compose an original 'harvest song' that passed into the oral tradition and/or was reprinted as a 'folk' piece, or was there a pre-existing song that they appropriated for their play?"
I can't answer that certainly, but if the song didn't change in two hundred years, I'd guess that the Purcell version is original and Dixon picked it up, after which Bell copied Dixon. - RBW
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