1. Cold and Raw

From the recording Lynnhaven Bay

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Also known as "The Scotch-man Out-witted by the Country Damsel," it is a popular song dating to the mid 17th century. Associated with Henry Purcell (1659–1695), it is one of the few Celtic or British seduction songs in which the lady in question shows any common sense, which is one reason we like it. One story goes that Purcell and the celebrated singer, Arabella Hunt, were performing a concert of Purcell's music for Queen Mary II, who, with her husband, William III, endowed the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. After listening to several of Purcell's compositions, the Queen asked Hunt if she would sing the ballad "Cold and Raw." Purcell was initially miffed that the Queen preferred a folk song to his own works, but later used the tune as the basis for a birthday ode composed for the Queen in 1692.


Cold and raw the North did blow, bleak in the morning early;
All the hills were covered in snow, dagled by winter yearly.
As I was riding o'er a knough I met with a farmer's daughter;
Rosie cheeks and bonny brow, it made my heart to falter.

Down I vailed my bonnet low, meaning to show my breeding;
She returned a courteous bow, a visage far exceeding.
I asked her where she went so soon and longed to begin a parley
She said unto the next market town, her purpose to sell her barley.

In this purse, sweet soul, said I, twenty pounds lie fairly;
Seek no farther one to buy for I'll take all thy barley.
If twenty pounds could buy delight thy person I love so dearly,
If thou would lie with me all night go home in the morning early.

If twenty pounds could buy the globe, quoth she, this I'd not do, sir.
Were my kin as poor as Job, I would not raise them so, sir.
Should I be tonight your friend we'd get a young kid together
You'd be gone ere the nine months end and where should I find a father?

I told her I had wedded been, fourteen years and longer.
Else I'd choose her for my queen and tie the knot much stronger.
She bid me then no farther roam but manage my wedlock fairly;
And keep purse for my spouse at home some other shall have her barley.