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Matthew Edwards Lyr Req: Sheep Crook and Black Dog (Ewan MacColl) (40) Lyr Add: The Unkind Shepherdess 29 Nov 12


The Roud Broadside Index indicates that versions of 'The Unkind Shepherdess' were printed in London by Pitts and by Catnach, and in Birmingham by Jackson, and by Whiting. The Index also cites a version printed by Swindells of Manchester, beginning "As I was a-walking one morning in Spring", amd another apparently by Kendrew of York with the first line "It was near a fountain where I sat alone"

A copy of one the broadsides printed by Pitts can be seen on the Bodleian Ballads website The Unkind Shepherdess, and there is another copy at the National Library of Scotland (NLS) which can be viewed online.

Here is the text copied from the NLS:-

The Unkind Shepherdess

I'LL spread these green branches all over her young,
So well I do like my Flora so sweetly she sung,
Was there ever a young man in so happy a state,
As I with my Flora, my Flora so great.

I'll go to my Flora and to her I'll say,
We both will be married it wants but a day,
One day says the farmer, and when that is come,
For to marry so early my age is too young.

We'll first go to service and when we return,
We both will be married all in the next town,
Will you go to service and leave me here to cry,
O yes lovely shepherd, I will tell you for why.

It happened so that to service she went,
To wait on a lady it was her intent,
Young Flora she met with a rich lady gay,
Who clothed young Flora in costly array.

Near a twelvemonth after a letter was sent,
It was three or four lines to know her intent,
She wrote that she lived such a contented life,
That she never did intend to become a young shepherd's wife.

These words and expressions did pierce like a dart,
I'll pluck up my spirits and cheer up my heart,
In hopes that she never will write so any more,
But her answer has convinced me as many times before.

My ewes and my lambs I will bid them adieu,
My bagpipes and budget I will leave here with you,
My shepherd's crook and black dog I will leave here behind,
Since Flora dear Flora, has changed her mind.

Printed by J Pitts (London), active c.1819-1844


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