Ploughboy (1) (The)

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PLOUGHBOY [1], THE. AKA - "Plough Boy (The)." AKA and see "Curly Headed Plowboy/Ploughboy." English, Air; Canadian; Reel. C Major ('A' part) & G Major ('B' part) [DeVille, Raven]: D Major ('A' part) & A Major ('B' part) [Huntington, Kerr, Messer]. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Raven): AABB (Messer): ABA'B' (Huntington). "The Ploughboy/Plough Boy" was a late 18th century song air by composer William Shield [1] (1748-1829) that was later adapted as a dance tune. It was composed and written for Thomas O'Keefe's comic two-act opera The Farmer (1787, originally called The Plague of Riches), the second work the pair collaborated on. The opera begins on a farm in Kent and ends in London, and is about the pitfalls of borrowing money. "The Ploughman" was the most popular song from the work, sold on songsheets and collected in songsters; as with many popular pieces, the air was adapted as the vehicle for several subsequent songs. It was entered into many early 19th century musicians' manuscripts. O'Keeffe's words begin:

William Shield

A flaxen-headed cow-boy, as simple as may be, And next a jolly ploughboy, I whistled o'er the lea.
But now a saucy footman I strut in worsted lace,
And soon I'll be a butler, and whey my jolly face;
When steward I'm promoted, I'll snip the tradesman's bill,
My master's coffers empty, my pockets for to fill.
When lolling in my chariot, so great a man I'll be,
So great a man, so great a man, so great a man I'll be,
You'll forget the little ploughboy who whistled o'er the lea,
You'll forget the little ploughboy who whistled o'er the lea.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: DeVille (The Violin Player's Pastime), p. 69. Huntington (William Litten's Tune Book), 1977; p. 46. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 3), c. 1880’s; No. 382, p. 42. Messer (Way Down East), 1948; No. 34. Messer (Anthology of Favorite Fiddle Tunes), 1980; No. 54, p. 34. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 147. Riley (Riley's Flute Melodies, vol. 1), New York, 1814; p. 69. Sannella, Balance and Swing (CDSS). Sime (The Edinburgh Musical Miscellany), 1792; pp. 192-194

Recorded sources: F&W Records 2, "F&W String Band 2."




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