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Harvest Home

[words trad., music Henry Purcell]

Harvest Home is a song from the semi-opera King Arthur, or The British Worthy, with music by Henry Purcell (1659-1695) and a libretto by John Dryden (1631-1700).

Danny Spooner and Duncan Brown sang Harvest Home as the title-giving song of their 2016 CD of songs of the working life, Labour and Toil. The album's liner notes commented:

The harvesters decorated the last sheaf of grain with gibbons and flowers and carried it on the top of the last cart and sang “harvest home!” as they came in from the fields. There are many versions of the Harvest Home song; some versions being so old that they go back to a time when the Church of England could still force farmers to pay one tenth of their income in farm produce to the church, in accord with the biblical junction for tithing. Needless to say this didn't go over very well with farmers.

Lyrics

John Dryden's Harvest Home

Your hay it is mowed, and your corn it is reaped,
Your barns will be full, and your hovels heaped.
    Come, my boys come; come, my boys come,
    And ll merrily roar out Harvest Home!

We ha’ cheated the parson, we’ll cheat him again,
For why should a blockhead ha’ one in ten?
    One in ten, one in ten;
    For why should a blockhead ha’ one in ten?

For prating so long like a book-learned sot,
Till pudding and dumpling burn to pot,
    Burn to pot, burn to pot,
    Till pudding and dumpling burn to pot?

We’ll toss off our ale till we cannoe stand,
And hoigh for the honour of Old England;
    Old England, Old England;
    And hoigh for the honour of Old England.

Danny Spooner and Duncan Brown sing Harvest Home

Your hay 'as been mowed and your grain it is reaped,
Your barns'll be full and your flour bags heaped.
    Come my boys come, come my boys come,
    And we'll merrily roar out Harvest Home.

Here's to the ploughman who ploughed up the soil,
Out in the fields he did labour and toil.
    Labour and toil, labour and toil,
    Out in the fields he did labour and toil.

Here's to the seedsman who scattered the grain
Till the rain and the sun grow'd it up again.
    Up again, up again,
    Till the rain and the sun grow'd it up again.