“The Jolly Thresher (Poor Man, Poor Man)”


The rich man asks the poor man how he can support such a large family with so many young children. The poor man answers, "I make my living by the sweat of my brow." In some texts the rich man gives him some sort of reward for all his hard work


  • Bodleian, Harding B 15(311b), "Squire and Thrasher" ("A nobleman liv'd in a village of late"), W. Jackson and Son (Birmingham), 1839-1855; also Harding B 15(312a), "The Squire and Thrasher"; Harding B 16(258b), "The Squire and Thrsherman" [sic]
  • NLScotland, Ry.III.a.10(040), "The Noble Man's Generous Kindness" or "The Country-Man's Unexpected Happiness," unknown, 1701


  • Harry Holman, "There Was a Poor Thresherman" (on Voice20)
  • Eleazar Tillett, "The Jolly Thresher" (on USWarnerColl01)


  1. Randolph 127, "Poor Man, Poor Man" (1 text)
  2. BrownIII 58, "The Thresherman" (1 text)
  3. JHCoxIIA, #21A-B, pp. 85-88, "Poor Man, O Poor Man," "There Was a Rich Englishman" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  4. Kennedy 253, "The Jolly Thresher" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Stokoe/Reay, pp. 118-119, "The Nobleman and Thrasher" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Warner 146, "The Jolly Thresher" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. FSCatskills 92, "The Jolly Thresher" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Flanders/Brown, pp. 156-159, "Poor Man's Song," "The Labourer" (2 texts, the second being the Green Mountain Songster version)
  9. SHenry H622, p. 44, "The Jolly Thresher"; H117, pp. 44-45, "As the King Went A-Hunting" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  10. Ord, pp. 48-49, "The Hedger" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. DT, POORMAN*
  12. Roud #19
  13. BI, R127


Alternate titles: “The Thresherman (and the Squire)”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: c. 1685 (broadside); 1792 (Scots Musical Museum)
Keywords: dialog work poverty
Found in: US(Ap,MA,NE,SE,So) Britain(England(All),Scotland) Ireland