The Farmer's Son

Melody -

Traditional Yorkshire ballad, published in 1729 in Vocal Miscellany, but certainly much older

Sweet Nelly! my heart's delight!
Be loving, and do not slight
The proffer I make, for modesty's sake:-
I honour your beauty bright.
For love, I profess, I can do no less,
Thou hast my favour won:
And since I see your modesty,
I pray agree, and fancy me,
Though I'm but a farmer's son.

2. No! I am a lady gay,
'Tis very well known I may
Have men of renown, in country or town;
So! Roger, without delay,
Court Bridget or Sue, Kate, Nancy, or Prue,
Their loves will soon be won;
But don't you dare to speak me fair,
As if I were at my last prayer,
To marry a farmer's son.

3. My father has riches' store,
Two hundred a year, and more;
Beside sheep and cows, carts, harrows, and ploughs;
His age is above threescore.
And when he does die, then merrily I
Shall have what he has won;
Both land and kine, all shall be thine,
If thou'lt incline, and wilt be mine,
And marry a farmer's son.

4. A fig for your cattle and corn!
Your proffered love I scorn!
'Tis known very well, my name is Nell,
And you're but a bumpkin born.
Well! since it is so, away I will go, -
And I hope no harm is done;
Farewell, adieu! - I hope to woo
As good as you, - and win her, too,
Though I'm but a farmer's son.

5. Be not in such haste, quoth she,
Perhaps we may still agree;
For, man, I protest I was but in jest!
Come, prythee sit down by me;
For thou art the man that verily can
Win me, if e'er I'm won;
Both straight and tall, genteel withal;
Therefore, I shall be at your call,
To marry a farmer's son.

6. Dear lady! believe me now
I solemnly swear and vow,
No lords in their lives take pleasure in wives,
Like fellows that drive the plough:
For whatever they gain with labour and pain,
They don't with 't to harlots run,
As courtiers do. I never knew
A London beau that could outdo
A country farmer's son.


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