Harvest Song Lyrics

This page gives just the lyrics for 16 of the harvest songs that are described on the Harvest Songs page. That page gives more information about each of these songs including their sources and where the music can be found written out and, if available, links to recordings that can be listened to for free on the internet.

Proto-Indo-European Religion | Festivals, Food and Farming | Harvest Songs

Illustration of Queen Summer by Walter Crane This set of songs was put together to help people learn traditional harvest songs in English. These songs are for the grain harvest which normally falls in August in northern countries. I found it very difficult to find the lyrics and music to many of these songs, so I made a webpage to make it easy. Because the lyrics were quoted so many different places, I decided to put them on the net in one convenient place.

I ask that people not copy this webpage onto other sites on the internet because I plan to update it and add to it and I don’t want multiple copies floating around. However I encourage everyone to print it out and use it or make it available in whatever way they like as long as they don’t charge more than the nominal expense for printing. All of these songs are traditional and they are in the public domain, as far as I know.

Harvest Home (Ritornello)

Your hay it is mow’d and your corn it 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.
And merrily roar out our harvest home.

Chorus (all):
Harvest home, harvest home!
And merrily roar out our harvest home.
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 why should a blockhead have one in ten?

Chorus (all):
One in ten, one in ten,
For why should a blockhead have 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 burnt to the pot:
Burnt to pot, burnt to pot
Till pudding and dumpling are burnt to pot.
Till pudding and dumpling are burnt to pot.

Chorus (all):
Burnt to pot, burnt to pot
Till pudding and dumpling are burnt to pot.
Till pudding and dumpling are burnt to pot.

We’ll toss off our ale till we cannot stand;
And heigh for the honour of old England;
Old England, old England
And heigh for the honour of old England.
And heigh for the honour of old England.

Chorus (all):
Old England, old England
And heigh for the honour of old England.
And heigh for the honour of old England.

Final chorus (all):
Harvest home, harvest home!
And heigh for the honour of old England.
And heigh for the honour of old England.

If you don’t happen to like singing for “Old England,” of course you can just “merrily roar out your harvest home!” instead.

Harvest Home Song (Rondelay)

When the farmer has fallowed and tilled all the land,
And scattered the grain with a bountiful hand
And the team that had labored with harrow and plough,
Has conveyed the rich produce safe home to the mow.
Then what shall we do? what shall we do?
What shall we do? what shall we do?
Sing, Harvest Home! Harvest Home!
And shout with full voices our Harvest home!

When Simon has whispered fair Doll in the ear,
Soft ditties of love the whole round of the year
And she has consented his prayer to fulfil.
When the priest asks the question, both answer “I will!”
Then what should they do? what should they do?
What should they do? what should they do?
Sing Harvest Home! Harvest Home!
Dear wedlock is always Love’s Harvest home!

Down Life’s sloping hill while old Square Toes jogs on,
And sums up the treasure in store for his son,
Young Hopeful thinks long til Fate winds up the charm,
That give him possession of acres and farm.
Then what should he do? what should he do?
What should he do? what should he do?
Sing Harvest Home! Harvest Home!
Old Time never fails to bring Harvest home!

A Contented Country Lass/Lad

I am a brisk and bonnie lass [lad]
And free from care or strife,
As sweetly as the hours pass
I love a country life.
At wake or fair I’m always there,
Its pleasures to be seen.
Though poor, I am contented and
As happy as a queen [king].

I rise up in the morning
My labor to pursue,
And with yoke and milking pails
I trudge the morning dew.
My cows I milk, and then I taste
How sweet their nature yields,
And the lark she sings to welcome me
Across the flowery fields.

And in the time of harvest
So cheerfully we go,
Some with hooks and some with crooks
And some with scythes to mow.
And when our corn is free from harm,
We have not far to roam.
And we’re all away to celebrate
The welcome harvest home.

The Reaphook and the Sickle

Come all you lads and lasses, together let us go
Into some pleasant cornfield our courage for to show;
With the reaphook and the sickle so well we clear the land,
The farmer says, “Well done, my lads, here’s liquor at your command.”

By daylight in the morning, when birds so sweetly sing,
They are such charming creatures, they make the valleys ring
We will reap and scrape together til Phoebus do go down,
With the good old leathern bottle and the beer that is so brown.

Then in come lovely Nancy, the corn all for to lay,
She is my charming creature, I must begin to pray;
See how she gathers it, binds it, she folds it in her arms,
Then gives it to some wagoner to fill a farmer’s barns.

Now harvest’s done and ended, the corn secure from harm,
All for to go to market, boys, we must thresh in the barn;
Here’s a health to all you farmers, likewise to all you men,
I wish you health and happiness till harvest comes again.

The Jolly Ploughboy

Come all you jolly plough-boys, and help me to sing,
I will sing in the praise of you all.
For if we don’t labor how shall there be bread?
I will sing and be merry withal.

We’ve moiled, we’ve toiled through mire and through clay
No comfort at all can we find.
We’ll sit down and sing and drive dull care away.
We’ll not live in this world to repine.

Here’s April, here is May, here is June and July
What a pleasure to see the corn grow!
In August it rip’neth, we reap and sheaves tie,
And go down with our scythes for to mow.

Now when we have a-pitched up every sheaf,
And a-gleaned up every ear,
Without more ado we’ll to plough and to sow
To provide for the harvest next year.

All of a Row

The corn is all ripe and the reapings begin.
The fruits of the earth, o we gather them in;
At morning so early the reaphooks we grind,
And away to the fields for to reap and to bind.
The foreman goes first in the hot summer glow,
And sings with a laugh, my lads, all of a row!
Then all of a row, Then all of a row,
And tonight we will sing, boys, all of a row.

We’re in says the catchpole, behind and before,
We’ll have a fresh edge and sheaf or two more;
The master stands back for to see us behind
Well done, honest fellows, bring the sheaves to the bind.
Well done, honest follows, pare up your first brink.
You shall have a fresh edge and a half pint to drink
Then all of a row! Then all of a row!
And tonight we will sing, boys, All of a row!

And so we go on through the heat of the day,
Some reaping, some binding, all merry and gay.
We’ll reap and we’ll bind, we will whistle and sing,
Unflagging until the last sheaf we bring in.
It’s all our enjoyment wherever we go
To work and to sing, Brothers, all of a row.
Then all of a row! Then all of a row!
And tonight we will sing, boys, All of a row!

Our day’s work is done, to the farmhouse we steer,
To eat a good supper, and drink humming beer;
We wish the good farmer all blessings in life,
And drink to his health, and as well to his wife.
God prosper the grain for next harvest we sow.
When again in the arrish we’ll sing, boys, hallo!
Then all of a row! Then all of a row!
And tonight we will sing, boys, All of a row!

All Among the Barley

Now is come September, the hunter’s moon begun,
And through the wheaten stubble is heard the frequent gun.
The leaves are pale and yellow, and kindling into red,
And the ripe and bearded barley is hanging down its head.

Chorus:
All among the barley, who would not be blithe?
When the ripe and bearded barley is smiling on the scythe.

The spring is like a young man who does not know his mind.
The summer is a tyrant of most ungracious kind.
The autumn’s like an old friend, who loves one all she can,
And she brings the bearded barley to glad the heart of man.

The wheat is like a rich man, it’s sleek and well-to-do.
The oats are like a pack of girls, laughing and dancing, too.
The rye is like a miser, it’s sulky, lean and small,
And the ripe and bearded barley is monarch of them all.

Now is come September, the hunter’s moon begun,
And through the wheaten stubble is heard the frequent gun.
The leaves are pale and yellow, and kindling into red,
And the ripe and bearded barley is hanging down its head.

There is an additional verse to be sung later in the year, as sung by Tinkers Bag:

Now in comes Old Man Winter, with frost and wind and rain
The snow upon the hanging bough, and ice out in the lane.
And we around the fire sit, while bitter winds do wail
And drink to old John Barleycorn, his own good nut brown ale.

The Mow

Now our work’s done, thus we feast,
After labor comes our rest;
Joy shall reign in every breast,
and right welcome is each guest;
After harvest merrily,
Merrily, merrily will we sing now,
After the harvest that heaps up the mow.

Now the plowman he shall plow,
and shall whistle as he go,
whether it be fair or blow,
for another barley mow,
O’er the furrow merrily,
Merrily, merrily, will we sing now,
after the harvest, the fruit of the plow.

Toil and plenty, toil and ease,
Still the husbandman he sees;
Whether when the winter freeze,
or in summer’s gentle breeze;
Still he labors merrily,
Merrily, merrily, after the plow
He looks to the harvest, that gives us the mow.

repeating first verse
Now our work’s done, thus we feast,
After labor comes our rest;
Joy shall reign in every breast,
and right welcome is each guest;
After harvest merrily,
Merrily, merrily will we sing now,
After the harvest that heaps up the mow.

Harvest Supper Song

Here’s a health unto our master,
the founder of the feast.
Here’s a health unto our master,
and to our mistress!
And may his doings prosper,
whate’er he takes in hand
For we are all his servants,
and are at his command.

Chorus:
Then drink, boys, drink
And see you do not spill
For if you do, you shall drink two
For ’tis our master’s will

Now harvest it is ended,
and supper it is past,
To our good mistress’ health, boys
A full and flowing glass,
For she is a good woman,
and makes us all good cheer
Here’s to our mistress’ health, boys
So all drink off your beer.

Harvest Away

Now harvest time is here, my boys, so raise a bumper, do,
To oats and beans and barley-o, and to the turnips, too.
Now early in the morning-o, we rise up with the quail,
A lump of greasy bacon and a half-a-pint of ale.

Chorus:
So drink, boys, drink
That is the master’s brew
And if you do not drink it
there’ll be no more for you.

Barley Mow

1. Now here’s good luck to the gill-pot,
Good luck to the Barley Mow
Here’s good luck to the gill-pot,
Good luck to the Barley Mow
The gill-pot, half-a-gill, quarter gill,
Nipperkin and a round bowl.
And here’s good luck, good luck
Good luck to the Barley Mow.

2. Now here’s good luck to the gill-pot,
Good luck to the Barley Mow
Here’s good luck to the gill-pot,
Good luck to the Barley Mow
The **half-a-pint, gill-pot, half-a-gill, quarter gill,
Nipperkin and a round bowl.
And here’s good luck, good luck
Good luck to the Barley Mow.

**Continue to add words before the “half-a-pint” in the verse above.
pint-pot; quart-pot; half-a-gallon; gallon; half a barrel; barrel; landlord; landlady;
daughter; slavey; brewer; company; the tavern.

Last Verse:
Now here’s good luck to the tavern (or use the name of the tavern you’re in)
Good luck to the Barley Mow
Here’s good luck to the tavern,
Good luck to the Barley Mow
The tavern, the company, the brewer, the slavey,
the daughter, the landlady, the landlord, the barrel,
half-a-barrel, the gallon, half-a-gallon, quart-pot, pint-pot,
half-a-pint, gill-pot, half-a-gill, quarter gill,
nipperkin and a round bowl.
And here’s good luck, good luck
Good luck to the Barley Mow!

John Barleycorn

There were three men came out of the West
their fortunes for to try,
And these three men made a solemn vow
“John Barleycorn must die.”

They’ve plowed, they’ve sown, they’ve harrowed him in,
threw clods upon his head,
And these three men made a solemn vow
“John Barleycorn was dead.”

They’ve let him lie for a very long time,
’til the rains from heaven did fall.
And little Sir John sprang up his head
and so amazed them all.

They let him stand ’til Mid-Summer’s Day
’til he looked both pale and wan;
And little Sir John’s grown a long, long beard
and so become a man.

They’ve hired men with the scythes so sharp
to cut him off at the knee;
They’ve rolled him and tied him by the waist,
serving him most barbarously.

They’ve hired men with the sharp pitchforks
who pricked him to the heart.
And the loader he has served him worse than that,
for he’s bound him to the cart.

They’ve wheeled him around and around the field
’til they came unto a barn.
And there they made a solemn oath,
On poor John Barleycorn.

They’ve hired men with the crab-tree sticks
to cut him skin from bone.
And the miller he has served him worse than that,
for he’s ground him between two stones.

And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl,
and he’s brandy in the glass,
And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl
proved the strongest man at last.

The huntsman he can’t hunt the fox
nor so loudly to blow his horn.
And the tinker he can’t mend kettles nor pots
without a little Barleycorn.

Two Children’s Songs

(Children’s) Harvest Song

O’er our fields the frost has descended,
Labor is done, gone is the sun;
Safely stored, the harvest is ended;
All in a ring, dancing we sing.

She who leads is innocent Pleasure,
Ending the year, gladly with cheer;
Joy and comfort, barns full of treasure,
Everywhere health, Autumn’s ripe wealth.

Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley-o

Oats, peas, beans and barley-o.
Oats, peas, beans and barley-o.
Do you or I or anyone know?
How oats, peas, beans and barley grow?

First the farmer sows his seed.
Then he stands and takes his ease.
He stamps his foot and claps his hands,
and turns around to view the land.

Next the farmer waters the seed.
Then he stands and takes his ease.
He stamps his foot and claps his hands,
and turns around to view the land.

Next the farmer hoes the weeds.
Then he stands and takes his ease.
He stamps his foot and claps his hands,
and turns around to view the land.

Last the farmer harvests his seed.
Then he stands and takes his ease.
He stamps his foot and claps his hands,
and turns around to view the land.

Waiting for a partner,
Waiting for a partner,
Open the ring and take one in,
while we all gaily dance and sing.

There is a final verse which turns the song into a sort of circle of the year:
What does the farmer do in spring?
He sows the seed that the harvests bring...

Brigg Fair

It was on the fifth of August,
The weather fair and mild,
Unto Brigg Fair I did repair,
For love I was inclined.

I got up with the lark in the morning,
And my heart was full of glee,
Expecting there to meet my dear,
Long time I’d wished to see.

I looked over my left shoulder,
To see what I might see,
And there I spied my own true love,
Come tripping down to me.

I took hold of her lily-white hand,
And merrily sang her heart,
For now we are together,
I hope we ne’er shall part.

Corn Rigs are Bonnie
also called Rigs O’ Barley in the version by Robert Burns

It was upon a Lammas night, when corn rigs are bonnie,
Beneath the moon’s unclouded light, I held awa to Annie.
The time flew by wi’ ’tentless heed, ’til tween the late and early,
wi’ sma’ persuasion she agreed to see me through the barley.

Chorus:
Corn rigs and barley rigs and corn rigs are bonnie;
I’ll ne’er forget that happy night, among the rigs wi’ Annie.

The sky was blue, the wind was still, the moon was shining clearly;
I set her down, wi’ right good will, among the rigs o’ barley:
I ken’t her heart was a’ my ain; I lov’d her most sincerely;
I kiss’d her owre and owre again, among the rigs o’ barley.

I locked her in my fond embrace, her heart was beating rarely,
My blessing on that happy place, among the rigs o’ barley!
But by the moon and stars so bright, that shone that hour so clearly!
She ay shall bless that happy night among the rigs o’ barley.

I have been blithe wi’ comrades dear; I have been merry drinking;
I have been joyful gathering gear; I have been happy thinking;
But a’ the pleasure e’er I saw, though three times doubled fairly,
That happy night was worth them a’, among the rigs o’ barley. [fuggle26]

References
The sources and the references for these songs are given on the Harvest Songs page at piereligion.org/harvestsongs.html

This page is copyright to me but none of the lyrics are. Some are copyright to the modern composers as noted; all the others are traditional and in the public domain. People are welcome to print the lyrics out to help with singing, which is strongly encouraged.

This page was originally at pierce.yolasite.com/hslyrics but Yola went out of business, so it has been migrated here, where the servers work.

© 2010, 2015, last updated 6/13/2016, at piereligion.org/hslyrics.html

visit tracker on tumblr