> Martin Carthy > Songs > Shepherd O Shepherd

Shepherd O Shepherd / The Shepherd's Wife

[ Roud 1055 ; G/D 7:1513 ; Ballad Index VWL074 ; Wiltshire Roud 1055 ; Mudcat 137801 ; trad.]

Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc. Folk Songs and Ballads of Scotland The Constant Lovers The Everlasting Circle The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs

Ewan MacColl sang The Shepherd and His Wife in 1964 on his and Peggy Seeger's Folkways album Traditional Songs and Ballads. The album's booklet noted:

The text of this witty and lively song was first published in Herd's collection. Robert Chambers described it as “a long rambling dialogue song of not much merit”. The tune which accompanies the version given in the Scots Musical Museum is said to have been communicated by Burns.

Learned from print: Herd [Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc.] and Scots Musical Museum.

Martin Carthy sang Shepherd O Shepherd on his 1974 album Sweet Wivelsfield. He noted:

Also from Dorset is Shepherd O Shepherd, collected by Henry Hammond of Dorchester. Although the song crops up in Scotland many times, this is the only English version. The tune is a modal version of the morris jig Greensleeves. You can find this in the ever-popular Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.

With regard to Scottish versions, Robert Chambers included The Shepherd's Wife in his book Songs of Scotland Prior to Burns (Edinburgh 1890). Gordeanna McCulloch sang it in 1997 on her Greentrax album In Freenship's Name, James Malcolm recorded it in the same year for Volume 4 of The Complete Songs of Robert Burns, and the Poozies sang it in 1998 on their CD Infinite Blue. They noted:

Patsy [Seddon] found this song, sung by James Malcolm on The Complete Songs of Robert Burns, volume 4. We enjoyed the sentiment that the way to a lover's heart is not through their stomach (although food comes a very close second in Poozie books!).

Lyrics

Ewan MacColl sang The Shepherd and His Wife

The shepherd's wife cries o'er the lee:
Come hame will ye, come hame will ye?
The shepherd's wife cries o'er the lee:
Come hame will ye again e'en, jo?

What will ye gie me to my supper,
Gin I come hame, gin I come hame?
What will ye gie me to my supper
Gin I come hame again e'en, jo?

Ye's get a panfu' plumpin parrage
And butter in them, and butter in them,
Ye's get a panfu' plumpin parrage
An' ye'll come hame again e'en, jo.

Ha ha, how, it's naething that dow,
I winna come hame and I canna come hame!
Ha ha, how, it's naething that dow,
I winna come hame again e'en, jo.

Ye's get a cook well totled i' the pot
An ye'll come hame and ye'll come hame;
Ye's get a cook well totled i' the pot
An ye'll come hame again e'en, jo.

Ha ha, how, it's naething that dow
I winna come hame and I canna come hame!
Ha ha, how, it's naething that dow
I winna come hame again e'en, jo.

Ye's get a hen well boiled i' the pan,
An ye'll come hame and ye'll come hame.
Ye's get a hen well boiled i' the pan,
An ye'll come hame again e'en, jo.

Ha ha, how, it's naething that dow
And I winna come hame and I canna come hame!
Ha ha, how, it's naething that dow
I winna come hame again e'en, jo.

A well made bed and a pair of clean sheets,
An ye'll come hame and ye'll come hame.
A well made bed and a pair of clean sheets,
An ye'll come hame again e'en, jo.

Ha ha how! It's naething that dow?
I winna come hame and I canna come hame.
Ha ha how! It's naething that dow?
I winna come hame again e'en, jo.

A pair of white legs and a good cogg-wame,
An ye'll come hame and ye'll come hame,
A pair of white legs and a good cogg-wame,
An ye'll come hame again e'en, jo.

Ha ha, how! That's something that dow,
And I will come hame, I will come hame!
Ha ha, how! That's something that dow,
I'll haste me hame again e'en, jo!

Martin Carthy sings Shepherd O Shepherd

Shepherd, o shepherd, will you come home,
Will you come home, will you come home?
Shepherd, o shepherd, will you come home
To your breakfast this morning?

What have you got for my breakfast,
My breakfast, my breakfast?
What have you got for my breakfast,
For my breakfast this morning?

Bacon and beans a bellyful,
A bellyful, a bellyful.
Bacon and beans a bellyful
For your breakfast this morning.

My sheep are all in the wilderness,
The wilderness, the wilderness.
Sheep are all in the wilderness
So I cannot come home this morning.

Shepherd, o shepherd, will you come home,
Will you come home, will you come home?
Shepherd, o shepherd, will you come home
To your dinner this evening?

What have you got for my dinnertime,
My dinnertime, my dinnertime?
What have you got for my dinnertime,
For my dinner this evening?

Pudding and beef a bellyful,
A bellyful, a bellyful,
Pudding and beef a bellyful
For your dinner this evening.

My sheep are all in the wilderness,
The wilderness, the wilderness.
Sheep are all in the wilderness
So I cannot come home this evening.

Shepherd, o shepherd, will you come home,
Will you come home, will you come home?
Shepherd, o shepherd, will you come home
For your lodging this night o?

What have you got for my lodging,
My lodging, my lodging?
What have you got for my lodging,
For my lodging this night o?

Clean sheets and a pretty lass,
A pretty lass, a pretty lass.
Clean sheets and a pretty lass,
For your lodging this night o.

Then I'll leave my sheep out in the wilderness,
The wilderness, the wilderness,
Leave my sheep out in the wilderness,
And I will come home this night.

Acknowledgements and Links

Transcribed by Garry Gillard.