Jolly Young Ploughman Lad, The

DESCRIPTION: "The jolly young ploughman lad Goes whistlin' o'er the lea; There's nane in a' the country roon Has a heart sae blythe and free." He loves "bonnie lassie Jean" and "Jeanie lo'es the winsome laddie That ca's the cairt and ploo"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1905 (Greig)
KEYWORDS: courting love farming
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Greig, "Folk-Song in Buchan," p. 29, ("The jolly young ploughman lad") (1 text)
NOTES: Greig's text is only one verse. That may be a fragment. It is tempting just to assign it to Laws M24, "The Jolly Ploughboy," who sometimes "went whistling on his plough" [Peacock] or went "Ploughing on the lea" [Karpeles]. This ploughboy had a lover but, in Greig's one verse, he and Jean are "blythe and free" with no sign of an unhappy father. The words don't match well enough with any of the versions I've seen of Laws M24 to include this there.
It is not (now) the same song as "The Flaxen Headed Ploughboy" by John O'Keeffe (see, for example, Bodleian broadside Harding B 15(240a), "The Plough Boy" ("A flaxen headed cow-boy") ," J. Pitts (London), 1819-1844)). That ploughboy also "whistled o'er the lee" but led an apparently loveless life as he progressed from cow-boy to plough boy, footman, butler, steward, and on by nefarious means, ... a Peer ... until he became "so great a man ... You'll forget the little Plough Boy That whistled o'er the lee." Maybe Greig's text is a derivative of "The Flaxen Headed Ploughboy." Compare it to this parody: "The Flaxen-headed Ploughboy Comes whistling o'er the Lea; To those who don't like whistling A nuisance he must be" (Punch, or The London Charivari (London, December 21, 1872 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. LXII, p. 256), and this derivative: "O Flaxen-headed Ploughman A whistling o'er the lee, Oh, do you not know how, man, I've ever loved thee!" (Punch, or The London Charivari (London, April 1, 1893 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. CIV, p. 153). - BS
Last updated in version 2.6
File: Grg029

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.