Friday, May 9, 2008

God Speed The Plow, The Farmers Arms or Success to the Farmer




Let the wealthy and great live in splendor and state.

I envy them not, I declare it,

For I grow my own rams, my own ewes, my own lambs,

And I shear my own fleece and I wear it.



By plowing and sowing and reaping and mowing

All nature provides me with plenty-

With a cellar well stored and a plentiful board,

And my garden affords every dainty.



For here I am king. I can dance, drink and sing.

Let no one approach as a stranger.

I will hunt when it's quiet. Come on, let us try it!

Dull thinking drives anyone crazy.



I have lawns and bowers. I have fruits and flowers,

And the lark is my morning alarmer.

So you jolly boys now, here's godspeed the plow.

Long life and success to the farmer.


I first came on this poem/lyric in the oddest way. I bought a jug (pitcher) at a sale that had this printed on the side. Much latter I found recordings of it as a song. GOD SPEED THE PLOW -- "God speed the plough, 'a wish for success or prosperity,' was originally a phrase in a 15th-century song sung by ploughmen on Plough Monday, the first Monday after Twelfth Day, which is the end of the Christmas holidays, when farm laborers returned to the plough. On this day ploughmen customarily went from door to door dressed in white and drawing a plough, soliciting 'plough money' to spend in celebration. "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

Here is another version.

Come all jolly fellows,
That delight in being mellow,
Attend unto me and sit easy.
For a pint when it's quiet,
My lads let us try it,
For dull thinking can drive a man crazy.

I have lawns, I have bowers.
I have fruit, I have flowers,
And the lark is my morning alarmer;
So, my jolly boys, now,
Here's good luck to the plough (God speed the plough);
Long life and success to the farmer.

Come, lads, when you're able;
Draw near to my table.
Let me hear not one word of complaining.
For the jingling of glasses,
All music surpasses,
And I like to see bottles a-draining.

For here I am King;
I can laugh, drink and sing,
And let no man approach as a stranger;
But show me the ass
That refuses a glass
And I'll treat him to hay in a manger.

Let the wealthy and great
Roll in splendor and state.
I envy them not, I declare it;
For I eat my own ham,
My own chicken and lamb,
I shear my own fleece and I wear it.

By ploughing and sowing,
By reaping and mowing,
Dame Nature rewards me a-plenty.
I've a cellar well stored,
And a plentiful board,
And my garden affords every dainty.

Recorded by Muckram Wakes and Strawhead
 

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for a good lyric well recorded

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Dbdude said...

My late father had a mug with the following version of this poem:

Let the wealthy and great
Roll in splendour and state
I envy them not I declare it
I eat my own lamb
My own chickens and ham
I shear my own fleece and I wear it

I have lawns I have bowers
I have fruits I have flowers
The lark is my morning alarmer
So jolly boys now
Here's God speed the plough
Long life and success to the farmer

In the ribbon style border on the bottom of the poem is: Industry Produceth Wealth


I;ve been searching for the origin of the poem as well as mugs with the poem on it to purchase for my siblings (no success so far)

Silverwaver said...

Hi Gimmer,

I have just posted this poem in my grandfather's handwriting on a new English website for grandparents. He had a jug and so he copied out the poem for us 60 years ago when we children.I looked around to see if anyone else had the same jug. What a great website!! I must come and visit again.

Linda said...

My Mother in law has a mug with this poem/prayer on and she wondered where it was from. Does anyone know the origin?

kcoleblue said...
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kcoleblue said...
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Anonymous said...

A hymn to self sufficiency I like it!I've looked everywhere for the tune but havenot come up with anything. Any ideas?
Ta.

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