> Martin Carthy > Songs > Shepherd O Shepherd

Shepherd O Shepherd / The Shepherd's Wife

[ Roud 1055 ; G/D 7:1513 ; Ballad Index VWL074 ; trad.]

Martin Carthy sang Shepherd O Shepherd on his 1974 album Sweet Wivelsfield. He commented in the record's sleeve notes:

Also from Dorset is Shepherd O Shepherd, collected by Henry Hammond of Dorchester. Although the song crops up in Scotland many times, this is the only English version. The tune is a modal version of the morris jig Greensleeves. You can find this in the ever-popular Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.

With regard to Scottish versions, Robert Chambers included The Shepherd's Wife in his book Songs of Scotland Prior to Burns (Edinburgh 1890). Gordeanna McCulloch sang it in 1997 on her Greentrax album In Freenship's Name, James Malcolm recorded it in the same year for Volume 4 of The Complete Songs of Robert Burns, and the Poozies sang it in 1998 on their CD Infinite Blue. The Poozies commented in their liner notes:

Patsy [Seddon] found this song, sung by James Malcolm on The Complete Songs of Robert Burns, volume 4. We enjoyed the sentiment that the way to a lover's heart is not through their stomach (although food comes a very close second in Poozie books!).

Lyrics

Martin Carthy sings Shepherd O Shepherd

Shepherd, o shepherd, will you come home,
Will you come home, will you come home?
Shepherd, o shepherd, will you come home
To your breakfast this morning?

What have you got for my breakfast,
My breakfast, my breakfast?
What have you got for my breakfast,
For my breakfast this morning?

Bacon and beans a bellyful,
A bellyful, a bellyful.
Bacon and beans a bellyful
For your breakfast this morning.

My sheep are all in the wilderness,
The wilderness, the wilderness.
Sheep are all in the wilderness
So I cannot come home this morning.

Shepherd, o shepherd, will you come home,
Will you come home, will you come home?
Shepherd, o shepherd, will you come home
To your dinner this evening?

What have you got for my dinnertime,
My dinnertime, my dinnertime?
What have you got for my dinnertime,
For my dinner this evening?

Pudding and beef a bellyful,
A bellyful, a bellyful,
Pudding and beef a bellyful
For your dinner this evening.

My sheep are all in the wilderness,
The wilderness, the wilderness.
Sheep are all in the wilderness
So I cannot come home this evening.

Shepherd, o shepherd, will you come home,
Will you come home, will you come home?
Shepherd, o shepherd, will you come home
For your lodging this night o?

What have you got for my lodging,
My lodging, my lodging?
What have you got for my lodging,
For my lodging this night o?

Clean sheets and a pretty lass,
A pretty lass, a pretty lass.
Clean sheets and a pretty lass,
For your lodging this night o.

Then I'll leave my sheep out in the wilderness,
The wilderness, the wilderness,
Leave my sheep out in the wilderness,
And I will come home this night.

Acknowledgements and Links

Transcribed by Garry Gillard.

See also the Mudcat CafĂ© thread Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'…Robert Burns??