> The Copper Family > Songs > Sheepshearing Song

Sheepshearing Song

[ Roud 879 ; Ballad Index ShH95 ; Bodleian Roud 879 ; trad.]

Bob and John Copper sang the Sheepshearing Song in 1971 on their Leader Records box set A Song for Every Season and in 1995 on their CD Coppersongs 2: The Living Tradition of the Copper Family.

Marie Little sang The Shearing in 1973 on her eponymous Trailer album Marie Little.

Bobby Eaglesham sang The Shearing in 1982 on his Fellside album Weather the Storm.

Andy Turner learned Sheepshearing Song from the Copper Family’s album and sang it as the 30 June 2012 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.


Bob and John Copper sing Sheepshearing Song

Come all my jolly boys and we’ll together go,
Together with our masters to shear the lambs and ewes.
All in the month of June of all times in the year
It always comes in season the lambs and ’yowes’ to shear.
And then we will work hard, my boys, until our backs do break,
Our Master he will bring us beer whenever we do lack.

Our Master he comes round to see our work’s done well,
And he says, Shear them close, my boys, for there is but little wool,
O, yes, good Master, we reply, we’ll do well as we can.
Our Captain cries, Shear close, my lads, to each and every man,
And at some places still we have this story all day long,
Bend your backs and shear them well, and this is all their song.

And then our noble Captain doth to the Master say,
Come let us have one bucket of your good ale, I pray,
He turns unto our Captain and makes him this reply,
You shall have the best of beer, I promise, presently.
Then with the foaming bucket pretty Betsy she doth come
And Master says, Maid, mind and see that every man has some.

This is some of our pastime while we the sheep do shear,
And though we are such merry boys, we work hard, I declare,
And when ’tis night and we are done our Master is more free
And stores us well with good strong beer and pipes of tobaccee,
And there we sit a-drinking we smoke and sing and roar,
Till we become far merrier than e’er we were before.

When all our work is done and all the sheep are shorn
Then home with our Captain to drink the ale that’s strong.
It’s a barrel then of hum-cap which we will call Black Ram,
And we do sit and swagger and we swear that we are men.
And yet before the night is through I’ll bet you half-a-crown,
That if you ha’n’t a special care that Ram will knock you down.


I copied the lyrics from the then Copper Family’s website; by now they seem to have been removed there.