“The Wanton Seed”

Alternate titles: “The Chiefest Grain”
Author: unknown
Keywords: sex pregnancy farming magic
Found in: Britain(England(South))

Description

Singer meets a pretty maid who wants "the chiefest grain"; she accepts his services, asking him to sow her meadow with "the wanton seed." After forty weeks she returns with a slender waist (presumably having borne a child), wanting more of the wanton seed

Notes

Again, I've refrained from calling this "bawdy," preferring "erotic." And I've keyworded it as "magic" because of the clear connection the song makes between the fertility of grain and sexuality, a common folk strain of sympathetic magic. - PJS

In at least some versions of his index, Round lumps this (accidentally, I'm sure) with "The Building of Solomon's Temple" [Laws Q39]. - RBW

Cross references

Recordings

References

  1. DT, WNTNSEED*
  2. Roud #1018
  3. BI, DTwntnse