“The Old Cloak”


In winter, the old wife urges the old man to go out and bring the cow in from the cold. He protests; his cloak is too old and thin. She reminds him of their history, and of the dangers of pride. At last he, to end the strife, goes out to care for the cow

Supplemental text

Old Cloak, The
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Arthur Quiller-Couch, The Oxford Book of Ballads, #170,
pp. 843-845. Source not listed.

This winter's weather it waxeth cold,
  And frost it freezeth on every hill,
And Boreas blows his blast so bold
  That all our cattle are like to spill.
Bell, my wife, she loves no strife;
  She said unto me quietlye,
'Rise up, and save cow Crumbock's life.
  Man, put thine old cloak about thee!'

(7 additional stanzas)


One of Percy's stanzas, beginning "King Stephen was a worthy peer," is quoted in Shakespeare's Othello (II.iii.80). But this stanza has nothing to do with the general plot of this song; I can't help but wonder if it is not some broadside-maker's insertion. - RBW


  1. Percy/Wheatley I, pp. 195-198, "Take Thy Old Cloak About Thee" (1 text)
  2. HarvClass-EP1, pp. 188-189, "The Old Cloak" (1 text)
  3. OBB 170, "The Old Cloak" (1 text)
  4. ST OBB170 (Partial)
  5. Roud #8207
  6. BI, OBB170


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1765 (Percy)
Keywords: dialog husband wife