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The history of this song is complex. In some versions it is a romantic pastoral idyll but in a few versions, the latter verses include seduction and unwanted pregnancy. We know nothing of Mr Hacklett’s version except the one verse so it is impossible to know which way it goes. The earliest known version is “The Plowman’s Glory” from the late 18th century. Its spread is mainly confined to England, and the southern counties at that, but this may be just be an accident of the density of collecting. Mr Hacklett’s Mixolydian tune is particularly striking.