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The Wanton Seed

[ Roud 17230 ; Ballad Index DTwntnse ; trad.]

A.L. Lloyd sang The Wanton See unaccompanied on the 1966 theme album The Bird in the Bush: Traditional Erotic Songs. He commented in the album's sleeve notes:

Some erotic folk songs, thought crude by genteel collectors, embody ancient ritualistic notions of love. Just as, at seed-time in primitive communities, peasants would be expected to copulate in the furrows to give good example to the plants, so too songs were raised conveying the magical idea that all natural phenomena are interdependent, and that the closest unity exists between the germination of grain and the amorous encounters of men and women. As in this genial song to be heard in Dorset pubs earlier in the present century, sometimes called The Chiefest Grain.

Nic Jones sang The Wanton Seed in 1971 on his third LP, The Noah's Ark Trap. As this album wasn't available any more, he published another recording of this song in 2001 on his double CD Unearthed.

Lyrics

A.L. Lloyd sings The Wanton Seed Nic Jones sings The Wanton Seed

As I walked out one spring morning fair
To view the fields and take the air,
There I heard a pretty girl making her complain;
And all she wanted was the chiefest grain, the chiefest grain,
And all she wanted was the chiefest grain.

Oh, as I walked out one morning fair
To view the fields and to take the air,
Spied a young maid making her complaint;
All that she wanted was the chiefest grain, the chiefest grain,
All she wanted was the chiefest grain.

I said to her, “My pretty maid,
Come tell me what you stand in need.”
“Oh yes, kind sir, you're the man to do the deed,
For to sow my meadow with the wanton seed, the wanton seed,
For to sow my meadow with the wanton seed.”

I stepped up to this fair young maid
And unto her these words I said:
I said, “My young maid, do you stand in need
Of the grain that's called the wanton seed, oh, the wanton seed,
A grain that's called the wanton seed.”

“Oh yes, kind sir, I stand in need,
Of a grain that's called the wanton seed.
If you are the man that can do the deed,
Come and sow my meadow with the wanton seed, the wanton seed,
Come and sow my meadow with the wanton seed.”

Then I sowed high and I sowed low
And under the bush the seed did grow.
It sprang up so accidentally without any weed
And she always remembered the wanton seed, the wanton seed,
And she always remembered the wanton seed.

So I sowed high and I sowed low
And it's under her apron the seed did grow.
Grew up so neatly without any weed,
She always commended my wanton seed, oh, my wanton seed,
She always commended my wanton seed.

Now when the forty long weeks they were over and past
She came back to me with a slender waist.
She came back to me and how she did complain,
She wanted some more of my chiefest grain, oh, my chiefest grain,
she wanted some more of my chiefest grain.