We've Cheated the Parson (2)

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WE'VE CHEATED THE PARSON [2]. AKA - "Your Hay it is Mow'd" or "Harvest Song." English, Air (6/8 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The original music to the harvest song "We've Cheeated the Parson" was the product of English composer Henry Purcell, who composed the music for Dryden's opera King Arthur (1691). It can be found in the 5th Act, sung by his character Comus and three peasants to Arthur and Emmeline, and seems to have either been danced to at the same time or preceeded a dance (according to stage instructions in the manuscript). "We Cheated the Parson" appeared printed on broadside sheets soon afterward (called "A New Playhouse song of the husband's delight, suiting the humours of a country Life") and was the vehicle for songs in numerous ballad operas such as Jovial Crew (1731), Lovers Opera (1730), Merry Cobler (1735), Mock Doctor (1732) and Old Man (1735). A second, different, melody was printed in John Gay's Polly (1729), reprinted in dancing master Thomas Wilson's Companion to the Ball Room (1816) [for which see "We've Cheated the Parson (1)." Purcell's original tune was printed by Henry Playford in Apollo's Banquet: The Second Book in 1691. Dryden's words go:

Your hay it is mow'd, and your corn is reap'd;
Your barns will be full, and your hovels heap'd.
Come, boys, come; Come, boys, come;
And merrily roar out our harvest home.

We've cheated the parson, we'll cheat him again,
For why should a blockhead have one in ten?
One in ten, one in ten,
For why should a blockhead have one in ten?

For prating so long like a book-learn'd sot
Till pudding and dumpling are burn'd to pot
Burn't to sot, burn't to pot
Till pudding and dumpling are burn'd to pot
Till pudding and dumpling are burn'd to pot

We'll toss off our ale till we cannot stand
And hey for the honour of old England
Old England, old England
And hey for the honour of old England

The song and words were printed by Thomas D'Urfey in Pills to Purge Melancholy and appear in numerous ballad operas.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Chappell (The Ballad Literature and Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 2), 1859; p. 583.

Recorded sources:




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