> Eliza Carthy > Songs > Blow the Winds

The Baffled Knight / The Shepherd Lad / Blow the Winds

[ Roud 11 ; Child 112 ; G/D 2:301 ; Ballad Index C112 ; Bodleian Roud 11 ; Wiltshire 254 ; trad.]

Gavin Greig collected The Shepherd Laddie from Mrs Gillespie of Buchan, Aberdeenshire, in 1905. In 1925 it was included in Alexander Keith's book Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads and Ballad Airs.

Ewan MacColl sang The Shepherd Lad in 1956 on his and A.L. Lloyd's Riverside anthology The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Volume I.

Peter Kennedy recorded Emily Bishop singing this song as The Baffled Knight in the 1950s for the BBC. This recording was included on the anthology The Child Ballads 2 (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 5; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1968) and in 2012 on the Topic anthology Good People, Take Warning (The Voice of the People Series Volume 23).

Sam Larner of Winterton, Norfolk, sang Blow Away the Morning Dew in a recording made by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger in 1958-60. It was released in 1961 on his Folkways anthology Now Is the Time for Fishing.

Cilla Fisher sang The Shepherd Lad in 1978 on her and Artie Trezise' Kettle (UK) and Folk-Legacy (USA) album For Foul Day and Fair.

Roy Harris sang Clear Away the Morning Dew in 1985 on his Fellside album Utter Simplicity.

Cyril Barber of Felsham, Suffolk, sang Hail the Dewy Morning on one of Veterans Songs Sung in Suffolk cassettes published in 1987/89, and on the 2000 Veteran anthology CD, Songs Sung in Suffolk

Eliza Carthy sang Blow the Winds in 1998 on her album Rice, accompanying herself on fiddle and djembe, and with Ed Boyd playing bouzouki. They followed it by Eliza's tune The Game of Draughts. This track was reissued in 2003 on Eliza's anthology The Definitive Collection.

Karine Polwart sang this song as Shepherd Lad in 2001 on Battlefield Band's CD Happy Daze. Their sleeve notes commented:

This is the only song we know about skinny dipping in Scotland, a chilly and ill-advised pursuit in the best of weather! It features a twist on the common ballad tale of a nasty young man who takes advantage of a girl. In fact, the shepherd lad is far too modest for this lassie. Karine fitted the traditional words to a tune of John [McCusker]'s.

Lisa Knapp sang this song as Dew Is on the Grass in 2007 on her CD Wild & Undaunted.

Rachael McShane sang Shepherd Lad in 2009 on her Navigator CD No Man's Fool.

Heidi Talbot sang The Shepherd Lad in 2010 on her Navigator CD The Last Star.

Jim Mageean sang Blow Away the Morning Dew in 2012 on the anthology of songs collected from John Short by Cecil Sharp, Short Sharp Shanties Vol. 3: Sea Songs of a Watchet Sailor. The album's notes commented:

[Richard Runciman] Terry [in The Shanty Book Part II (J. Curwen & Sons Ltd., London. 1924)] comments that although Short started his Blow Away the Morning Dew with a verse of The Baffled Knight, he then digresses into floating verses. In fact three of the verses recorded and published by Terry, not one derive from The Baffled Knight! Short sang only the “flock of geese” verse to Sharp. Sharp did not publish the shanty, but other authors also give Baffled Knight versions. The other predominant version in collections is the American whaling version but still using the tune associated with The Baffled Knight and the chorus remaining close to the usual words.

The text used here is virtually all Short via Terry — the addition being the “new-mown hay” verse which comes straight from The Baffled Knight.

Andy Turner sang this song as Stroll Away the Morning Dew as the May 20, 2012 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week. He noted in his blog:

This was a song which, in [Maud Karpeles'] The Crystal Spring, is given the title of The Baffled Knight, and which Sharp collected in Warehorne on 23 September 1908 from James Beale. Even at 18 I realised, I think, that The Baffled Knight was a ballad scholar’s title, not what a traditional singer would have used (it doesn’t even mention a knight in Mr Beale’s song—it’s a shepherd’s son who is “baffled”). A few years later, when I looked at the copy of Sharp’s manuscripts in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, I found that in fact Mr Beale had also sung “Stroll away the morning dew”, rather than the more usual “Blow away the morning dew”. So that’s what I’ve sung ever since, and that’s how I refer to the song.

Steve Roud included The Baffled Knight in 2012 in The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. Lucy Ward, James Findlay, Bella Hardy and Brian Peters sang it a year later on the accompanying Fellside CD The Liberty to Choose: A Selection of Songs from The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.

Faustus sang Blow the Windy Morning in 2013 on their CD Broken Down Gentlemen.


Eliza Carthy sings Blow the Winds Rachael McShane sings Shepherd Lad

There was a shepherd's son,
He kept sheep on the hill.
He laid his pipe and his crook aside
And there he slept his fill.

Once there was a shepherd lad,
Kept sheep on yonder hill.
And he laid his pipe and crook aside
And there he slept his fill.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
And blow the winds high-o, high-o
Sing blow the winds high-o

Well he looked east and he looked west,
He took another look
And there he saw a lady gay
Was dipping in a brook.

He looked east and he looked west,
He took another look
And there he spied a lady gay,
Swimming in a brook.

Chorus (after every other verse):
Blow the winds i-o,
Blow the winds i-o,
Clear away the morning dew
And blow the winds i-o

He raised his head from his green bed
And he approached the maid,
“Put on your clothes my dear,” he said,
“And do no be afraid,

“It's fitter for a lady fair
To sew a silken seam
Than to rise up on a May morning
And swim against the stream.”

She said: “Sir, don't touch my mantle,
Come let my clothes alone.
I will give you as much bright money
As you can carry home.”

“If you'll not touch my mantle
And you'll leave my clothes alone.
Then I'll give you as much money, sir,
As you can carry home.”

“I will not touch your mantle,
I'll let your clothes alone,
But I'll take you out of the water clear
My dear to be my own.”

“I'll not touch your mantle
And I'll leave your clothes alone.
But I'll take you out of the clear water,
My dear, to be my own.”

And when she out of the water came,
He's took her in his arms.
“Put on your clothes, my dear,” he said,
And hide those lovely charms.”

He mounted her on a milk white steed,
Himself upon another,
And there they rode along the road
Like sister and like brother.

And he's put her on a milk white steed,
Himself upon another,
And it's all along the way they rode
Like sister and like brother.

And as they rode along the road
He spied some cocks of hay,
“Oh look!” he says, “there's a lovely place
For men and maids to play.”

And as they rode along the way
He spied some bails of hay,
He said, “That is a lovely place
For men and maids to play.”

And when they came to her father's house
They rang long at the ring,
And who is there but her brother
To let the young girl in.

And when they came to her father's gate
She's tirled at the pin,
And ready stood the proud porter
To let this fair maid in.

When the gates were opened
This young girl she jumped in,
“Oh, look!” she says, “you're a fool without
And I'm a maid within!

And when the gates were open
It's so nimbly she's stepped in.
She said, “You are a fool without
And I'm a maid within!

“There is a horse in my father's stable,
He stands behind the thorn,
He shakes himself above the trough
But dares not pry the corn.

“There is cock in my father's yard,
A double comb he wears,
He shakes his wings and he crows full loud
But a capon's crest he bears.

“And there is a flower in my father's garden,
It's called the marigold,
The fool that will not when he can,
He shall not when he would.”

“Oh so fare you well my modest boy,
I thank you for your care,
But had you done as you should do,
I'd never have left you there.”

Says the shepherd's son as he doffed his shoes,
“My feet they shall run bare
And if I ever meet another girl
I'll have that girl, beware.”


Transcribed from the singing of Eliza Carthy by Garry Gillard.