Digital Tradition Mirror

Tarry Wool

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Pennywhistle notation and Dulcimer tab for this song is also available

Tarry Wool

  Tarry wool, oh tarry wool
  Tarry wool is ill tae spin
  Card it well, oh, card it well
  Card it well e'er ye begin

When it's carded, wove and spun,
Then your work in almost done
But when it's woven, dressed and cleaned,
It will be clothing for a queen

Up, ye shepherds, dance and skip
O'er the hills and valleys trip
Sing in praise of tarry wool
And of the flock who bears it, too

Poor harmless creatures, without blame
They clothe the back and cram the wame
Keep us warm and hearty, too
Well's on us, our tarry wool

Hart and hind and fallow deer
Not by half so useful are
From kings to him that holds the plough
All are obliged to tarry wool

Who'd be a king, can any tell
When a shepherd lives so well
Lives so well and pays his due
With honest heart and tarry wool

Note: Herd 1776, II.100 (with 4 more stanzas).  With music in
     SMM I (1787), 45 (no. 45), whence Chambers SSPB, 383,
     Montgomerie SNR (1946), 96 (no. 118), etc.  The extra
     stanzas are probably by Ramsay, who has this in Tea-
     Table Miscellany IV.  The tune appears in McGibbon's 2nd
     Collection of Scots Tunes, 1746; a slight modification
     gives the air of "Lewie Gordon".  See FSJ pt. 8, 215-6. MS


Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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