Two swains or clowns — but call them swains —
Whilst keeping flocks on Salisbury plains,
For all that tend on sheep as drovers
Are turned to songsters or to lovers,
Each of the lass he call’d his dear,
Began to carol loud and clear.
First Huggins sang, and Duggins then,
In the way of ancient shepherd men;
Who thus alternate hitched in song,
“All things by turns, and nothing long.”
Of all the girls about our place,
There’s one beats all in form and face;
Search through all Great and Little Bumpstead,
You’ll only find one Peggy Plumstead.
To groves and streams I tell my flame,
I make the cliffs repeat her name;
When I’m inspired by gills and noggins,
The rocks re-echo Sally Hoggins!
When I am walking in the grove,
I think of Peggy as I rove.
I’d carve her name on every tree,
But I don’t know my A, B, C.
Whether I walk in hill or valley,
I think of nothing else but Sally.
I’d sing her praise, but I can sing
No song, except “God save the king!”
My Peggy does all nymphs excel,
And all confess she bears the bell —
Where’er she goes swains flock together,
Like sheep that follow the bell wether.
Sally is tall and not too straight —
Those very poplar shapes I hate;
But something twisted like an S —
A crook becomes a shepherdess.
When Peggy’s dog her arms empris’n
I often wish my lot was hisn;
How often I should stand and turn,
To get a pat from hands like hern.
I tell Sall’s lambs how blest they be,
To stand about, and stare at she;
But when I look, she turns and shies,
And won’t bear none but their sheep’s eyes!
Love goes with Peggy where she goes —
Beneath her smile the garden grows;
Potatoes spring, and cabbage starts,
‘Tatoes have eyes, and cabbage hearts!
Where Sally goes it’s always Spring,
Her presence brightens everything;
The sun smiles bright, but where her grin is,
It makes brass farthings look like guineas.
For Peggy I can have no joy,
She’s sometimes kind, and sometimes coy,
And keeps me, by her wayward tricks,
As comfortless as sheep with ticks!
Sally is ripe as June or May,
And yet as cold as Christmas Day;
For when she’s asked to change her lot,
Lamb’s wool — but Sally, she wool not.
Only with Peggy and with health,
I’d never wish for state or wealth;
Talking of having health and more pence,
I’d drink her health if I had fourpence!
Oh, how that day would seem to shine,
If Sally’s banns were read with mine;
She cries, when such a wish I carry,
“Marry come up!” but will not marry.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55