Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
167. The Simple Ploughboy
 
 
I

O THE PLOUGHBOY was a-ploughing
With his horses on the plain,
  And was singing of a song as on went he:
‘Since that I have fall’n in love,
If the parents disapprove,        5
  ’Tis the first thing that will send me to the sea.’
 
II

When the parents came to know
That their daughter loved him so,
  Then they sent a gang, and press’d him for the sea.
And they made of him a tar,        10
To be slain in cruel war;
  Of the simple Ploughboy singing on the lea.
 
III

The maiden sore did grieve,
And without a word of leave,
  From her father’s house she fled secretlie,        15
In male attire dress’d,
With a star upon her breast,
  All to seek her simple Ploughboy on the sea.
 
IV

Then she went o’er hill and plain,
And she walked in wind and rain,        20
  Till she came to the brink of the blue sea,
Saying, ‘I am forced to rove,
For the loss of my true love,
  Who is but a simple Ploughboy from the lea.’
 
V

Now the first she did behold,
        25
O it was a sailor bold,
  ‘Have you seen my simple Ploughboy?’ then said she.
‘They have press’d him to the fleet,
Sent him tossing on the deep,
  Who is but a simple Ploughboy from the lea.’        30
 
VI

Then she went to the Captaìn,
And to him she made complain,
  ‘O a silly Ploughboy’s run away from me!’
Then the Captain smiled and said,
‘Why Sir! surely you’re a maid!        35
  So the Ploughboy I will render up to thee.’
 
VII

Then she pullèd out a store,
Of five hundred crowns and more,
  And she strew’d them on the deck, did she.
Then she took him by the hand,        40
And she row’d him to the land,
  Where she wed the simple Ploughboy back from sea.
 

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