The Sussex Sheep-Shearer. 101
The next specimen of rural minstrelsy is in a more tuneful spirit, but, we fear, is not such a genuine production of the soil as the foregoing. It was, however, frequently sung at Sussex sheep-shearings in former days, and, for aught we know, may be so now: —
Here the rose-buds in June, and the violets are blowing ; The small birds they warble from every green bough;
Here's the pink and the lily,
And the daffydowndilly, To adore and perfume the sweet meadows in June. 'Tis all before the plough the fat oxen go slow; But the lads and the lasses to the sheep-shearing go.
Our shepherds rejoice in their fine heavy fleece,
And frisky young lambs, with their flocks do increase ;
Each lad takes his lass,
All on the green grass,
Where the pink and the lily,
And the daffydowndilly, &c.
Here stands our brown jug, and 'tis fill'd with good ale, Our table, our table shall increase and not fail; We'll joke and we'll sing, And dance in a ring; Where the pink and the lily, And the daffydowndilly, &c.
When the sheep-shearing's over, and harvest draws nigh, We'll prepare for the fields, our strength for to try; We'll reap and we'll mow, We'll plough and we'll sow; Oh ! the pink and the lily, And the daffydowndilly, &c.
Some of the toasts given on these occasions were very quaint and had their special ballads attached to them. One of these latter commenced as follows:—
Our maid she would a hunting go,
She'd never a horse to ride;
She mounted on her master's boar,
And spurred him on the side.
Chink ! chink ! chink ! the bridle went,
As she rode o'er the downs. So here's unto our maiden's health, Drink round, my boys ! drink round!
The supper finished, and the profits shared, the members of the Company shook hands and parted, bidding each other good-bye till another year, and each man bending his steps towards his own home, which, probably, lay widely apart from