“Mowing the Barley (Cold and Raw)”


A lawyer asks a pretty woman where she's going: "To my father a-mowing the barley." He propositions her; she scorns him, (telling him to keep his money for his wife at home). (He presses his case; she yields and marries "into a station above her")


Although this song is most famous as "Cold and Raw" (see the numerous broadsides using this tune), there are versions which do not use this phrase, so I chose the title "Mowing the Barley." In addition, the "Cold and raw" refrain apparently exists as ain independent nursery refrain; see Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #414, p. 194, "(Cold and raw the north wind doth blow)"

There is a broadside, NLScotland APS.4.84.18, "The Northern Ditty; or The Scotchman Outwitted by a Country Lass," which begins with the words of this song, but the rest sounds like a "Baffled Knight" plot. The photograph of the sheet is largely illegible. - RBW

Sequels or answers arose early. Some of the "Northern Ditty" broadsides listed above have "a second part" (for example, Douce Ballads 3(70a) and Harding B 1(87)).

See Bodleian, Don. b.13(12), "A third merry ditty of Cold and raw," J. Deacon (London), 1671-1704; Bodleian, Douce Ballads 2(187a), "Rogers Renown" or "The fourth and last merry ditty of Cold and raw," J. Blare (London), 1683-1706

Bodleian attributes its "The Northern Ditty" broadsides' authorship to Thomas D'Urfey. I don't find that attribution on the face of any of those broadsides. For information about Thomas D'Urfey see _The Contemplator's Short Biography of Thomas D'Urfey (1653-1723)_ at the Contemplations from the Marianas Trench contemplator.com site. - BS

Same tune

  • The Lusty Fryer of Flanders/Not long ago from hence I went (BBI ZN1898)
  • The Poor Contented Cuckold/Was e'er man so unfortunate (BBI ZN2731)
  • Roger's Renown..Fourth and Last Merry Ditty of Cold and Raw/Roger did a letter send (BBI ZN2302)
  • The Downright Wooing Of Honest John & Betty/Well met my pritty Betty (BBI ZN2778)
  • A General Summons ..Hen-Peck'd Frigate/Here is a summons for all honest men (BBI ZN1133)
  • The London Jilts Lamentation/Here is wonderful Strange News (BBI ZN1136)
  • The Miserable Mountebank/In a market town of late (BBI ZN1403)
  • The Wealthy Farmers Choice/Near a pleasant shady grove, in prime of summer weather (BBI ZN1863)
  • Up in the Morning Early (_Scots Musical Museum_ #140, probably a partial rewrite of this piece)


  • Bodleian, Harding B 39(152), "The Northern Ditty" or "The Scotch-man Out-witted by the Country Damsel", P. Brooksby (London), 1683-1696; also Harding B 39(201)[almost entirely illegible], Douce Ballads 2(168a), Douce Ballads 3(70a), Vet. A3 b.43(13), Harding B 1(86), "The Northern Ditty" or "The Scotch-man Out-witted by the Country Damsel"; Harding B 1(87), Harding B 11(2300), Harding B 11(2301), 2806 c.15(108)[almost entirely illegible], Harding B 26(413), Harding B 11(3867), 2806 b.11(138), Harding B 19(28), "[The] Maid That Sold Her Barley"
  • NLScotland, APS.4.84.18, "The Northern Ditty" or "The Scotchman Outwitted by a Country Damsel," unknown, 19C


  • A. L. Lloyd, "Cold and Raw" (on Lloyd1)


  1. Sharp-100E 60, "Mowing the Barley" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. OLochlainn 61, "The Maid That Sold Her Barley" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Chappell/Wooldridge I, "Stingo, or The Oil Of Barley, or Cold And Raw" (1 tune)
  4. BBI, ZN499, "Cold and Raw the North did blow"; cf. ZN2294, "Riding down a narrow lane, two or three hours after"
  6. ADDITIONAL: Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), pp. 281-282, "The Maid That Sold Her Barley" (1 text)
  7. Roud #922
  8. BI, ShH60


Alternate titles: “Cold and Raw”; “Lawyer Lee”; “The Maid Who Sold Her Barley”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1697 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 39(152)); 1699 ("Pills to Purge Melancholy"; a bawdy version)
Found in: Britain(England(South)) Ireland