“Pretty Betsy the Milkmaid (Blackberry Fold)”


The squire sees Pretty Betsy, and offers to marry her. She begs him not to tease a poor girl. He gives her half of a broken ring as a token. He tries to seduce her, then rape her, but she fends him off. He gives in and marries her


Not to be confused with "Blackberry Grove," despite their sharing a milkmaid and blackberries. Incidentally, one of the reasons milkmaids were held in such romantic esteem was for their smooth, fair, and un-pockmarked skin, which came from their contact with cowpox and resultant immunity to smallpox. - PJS


  • Bodleian, Harding B 25(2146), "Young Squire" ("It's of a rich squire in Bristol doth dwell"), J. Pitts (London), 1802-1819; also Harding B 25(2147)[some illegible lines], "The Young Squire"; Harding B 28(140), "Squire and Milk Maid"; 2806 c.16(44), Harding B 25(1836), "Squire and Milkmaid"; 2806 b.11(240), Firth c.18(168), "Squire and Milkmaid" or "Blackberry Fold"


  1. Laws O10, "Pretty Betsy the Milkmaid (Blackberry Fold)"
  2. Kennedy 314, "Blackberry Fold" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Leach-Labrador 23, "Blackberry Fold" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. DT 831, BESSMILK
  5. Roud #559
  6. BI, LO10


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1820 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 25(2146))
Found in: US(MW) Britain(England(All),Scotland) Canada(Newf)